I’ll admit that I’ve had some painting sessions that ended with me being unhappy in the last couple of days. I was tempted not to share anything from those days on social media until I remembered a book I’d been reading called Show Your Work, which Ali Abdaal recommended on his Youtube channel.
Of course, I had been showing my work long before I read this book, but what stuck out to me was “think progress, not product.” It hit me that even the stages in my pieces I consider ugly, that even embarrass me a little, are part of my progress and teaching opportunities. If I only share my work when it’s in a favorable stage, I’m doing my audience a disservice.
The key phrase here is teaching opportunity. I don't put myself or my art down in these posts. Instead, I objectively explain what I think is wrong with the piece, what I think I did to make it that way, and what I might try to fix it. Even if you don't share your work on social media, I encourage you to look at your own pieces in the same way.
What I hope you take away from this, whether you share your work or not, every part of your process is equally valid. Don’t get discouraged because maybe your piece suddenly looks worse to you. Keep working on it, and eventually, it will look better again.
Below are a couple of examples of pieces I was unhappy with and how I improved them.
Painter of portraits and wildlife