Artists, Embrace the Suck

Artists, Embrace the Suck

Although you are watching this video in August, It was recorded just after July 4, which is Independence Day in the US. Independence Day always has me thinking of, and thanking those in our military who have served and do serve. My Dad served in the Air Force, my father-in-law served in the Army and my sister's husband served in the Navy. I am proud of these men and all others who work to defend our country. I was talking recently to a buddy of mine who served in the Marines. He told me during both basic training and his more advanced training, their mantra was "Embrace the Suck."

Everytime the training got really hard, they would say, Embrace the Suck. They were accepting the struggle they were going through. In accepting it, they knew that later they would benefit from the struggle. The struggle is temporary with a payoff down the road, including greater knowledge and fully developed skills.

This discussion made me think about our creative endeavors as artists. We struggle to learn and develop skills. But how often to we honor and accept the struggle? Do we embrace it? I think without struggle to get us somewhere, we can't fully enjoy the rewards of our efforts.

My artistic struggle came back to mind recently when I decided to begin an activity after a 40 plus year layoff - play the guitar. When I was in high school, like lots of teenagers, I was a member of a rock and roll band. Once I went off to college, I gave up playing and later sold my guitar and amp. Recently I had a desire to play again, so I bought a guitar and tried to play. Wow, after 40 years nearly everything was gone. No memory of how to play any songs, no left-hand, right-hand coordination, only the memory of playing basic chords.

So, I am now Embracing the Suck once again. I know that I'll never paint like Picasso, or play like Eric Clapton, but I embrace the challenge of the struggle, and I know that I will get better. That's enough hope to keep me going.

If you'd like to learn to more about abstract painting, then please join me for a painting workshop: (You can view a list of 2018 and 2019 workshops HERE)

  • August 23-25 Franciscan Life Process Center, Lowell, MI. For more information and registration Click Here.
  • September 6-8 Live Your Art Studio, Carlsbad, CA. For more information and registration Click Here.
  • September 10-12 Merced Art Center, Merced, CA. To register contact Bo Petty 209-388-1090.
  • September 21-23 New Braunfels Art League, New Braunfels, TX. For more information and registration Click Here
  • October 11-13 Binders Art, Atlanta, GA. For more information and registration Click Here.
  • October 19-21 Eastern Shore Art Center, Fairhope, AL. For more information and registration Click Here.
  • October 25-27 Painting Miles, Raleigh, NC. For more information and registration Click Here.

As always, thanks so much for your support!


P.S. If you you'd like to learn how to paint abstracts in the comfort of your home or studio, Abstract Painting Academy is my online course:

Abstract Painting Academy is the next best thing to a live workshop event. You can find out more by Clicking Here.