Friday, August 28, 2015

Fail Friday: Jesse Alston

This week's Fail Friday post features special guest painter and interior designer, Jesse Alston, who had this story to share:

"My fail took place just last year. Before my wedding last October, I was approached by someone about doing a commissioned painting for them. The painting was to be of their old family farm house. I was eager to take on a "real" commission job so I said yes! They supplied me with multiple photographs of the house and dictated what size canvas. 

Honestly, my process for painting can be stressful sometimes. I start working and pretty much immediately hate everything about what I put on the canvas. After some awkward pep talks with myself, I am usually convinced that I should keep working and it will get better. This painting was no different. I hated it then I loved it. Hated it... then loved it. Over and over again. 

It was now just 2 short weeks before my wedding and I was crazy busy with all the finishing details of planning a wedding like final meetings with vendors and planned events being generously thrown for us. I desperately wanted to complete the farm house painting and get it to the client before the wedding, so I made a final push to finish. When I did, I actually loved it! 

I proudly took pictures of the finished product to send to the client for approval and even volunteered to deliver it whenever they would like hoping that they would then supply me with a check for my work! It felt like I waited forever for a reply, but then again I was just really excited and impatient to see what they thought about the painting. 

When the response finally came, it was a huge let down. They didn't even mention what they thought of the painting and just said something along the lines of they shouldn't have rushed me so close to the wedding and they wanted to talk to me about it after the honeymoon. That was it. It was pretty clear that they weren't a fan of the painting and even implied that it was thrown together last minute. 

I don't have thick skin when it comes to my art, so my feelings were pretty hurt, but I pushed the ordeal to the back of my mind and decided I would worry about it after our honeymoon. When we arrived back home, there sat the lonely, unwanted painting of the farm house. I hated everything about it. The client's lack of a reaction to it made me view my work in a completely different light. All the things I liked about it suddenly turned to things I hated about it. 

They said they would get in touch with me after the honeymoon, but weeks later I still hadn't heard anything. Weeks turned into months and still nothing. The thought about quitting art or at the very least quitting commissions entered my mind many times. I was upset because I had worked so hard and spent so much time on the painting and not gotten paid for anything! Plus the painting was of this very specific family house that I felt like I couldn't do anything else with. I never heard another word from the client. 

However, at some point I began to love the painting again. I think the clients email that implied they didn't like my work completely colored my opinion of it. I was only able to love it again once I let go of the thought that someone hated it.  

Next thing I know, someone is interested in it. I marketed it to them as a painting of charming, southern farm house and they purchased it! Ultimately, my fail came with a happy ending, but I think I learned a lot from the unpleasant part. 

I learned to trust myself and not have such harsh thoughts about my own work. One person's opinion, or lack of opinion, about my work doesn't mean everyone feels that way. It's actually funny because throughout this experience so many other people were telling me that they thought the painting was great, but that one negative reaction completely overpowered the many positive ones. How dumb is that?! 
Trust yourself as an artist and trust your ability to create something beautiful!"

Thanks for sharing, Jesse! Do you have an art "fail" you'd like to share? Email me at

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