The Secrets of Painting, Drawing and Art as a Whole: Art is About Failure

Dasha Egudkina ’18, Peter Dalglish Art Award Recipient, from her Chapel Speech

“Knowing that there are people who hold the Fine Arts close to their hearts, so much so that they would contribute to an award such as this is a huge deal to me. The award symbolizes hope, and when people have hope in my work it makes me all the more motivated to do what I do. The Dalglish family makes the art program at LCS something to be proud of, taking it beyond an art class and allowing artists to have the right opportunities to make their dreams a reality.” Dasha Egudkina ’18

I have been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember. It has always been a part of my identity for God knows why, but knowing that art is an essential part of who I am, I have continued to paint. Many around me tell me that it just isn’t worth it, and sometimes it feels like they’re right. But I found that it is worth it if it is your livelihood and it is worth it if it is the only thing you trust about yourself to be constant. And so, for me, most of the time, art is worth it.

Paintings by Dasha Egudkina, Grade 12, Peter Dalglish Art Award Recipient 2018
Paintings by Dasha Egudkina, Grade 12, Peter Dalglish Art Award Recipient 2018

It takes practice, a tonne of practice, and the closest I have come to having talent for Fine Arts is through pure determination. I don’t really believe in the idea of a “God given” talent. To become a successful artist in any sense is to live and breathe it. To say it is a difficult career path is an understatement.

It has taken hard work to get to where I am today, which isn’t quite far yet, and will likely require loads of good luck for me to move forward, things I can’t control. But to give up making this my career, would be even more painful than failing. So, to basically reside in the art room and look kind of weird running up to people in the hall or class asking if I can draw them, is always worth it. If you think you spend a lot of time in the art room, let me share with you that I have eaten, slept and watched The Office on the big TV there, which is basically what I do at home. I know where just about everything is, even in the Art Office and the room behind the Dark Room. If I ever ignore you or I am awkward when you’re there, I either can’t tell there’s anyone in the room, or I have not prepared to talk to people as I have just spent three to seven hours focused on meticulously painting a kiwi, or something.

Observational art can be one of the most painstakingly boring things to do but, for some reason, I love it. Practice means to fail and redo. What used to take me hours may now take me minutes. At times, failure may mean something does not look right, but more often than not, failure is to not achieve perfection in the fastest way possible. Though the days of the Renaissance and Classical periods are over, I stand by realism for the sake of understanding and enduring the discipline required to acquire the necessary skills to become a ‘master.’ Realism, in its truest sense, has become trivial due to the rise of photography, however, it is crucial to understanding the workings and objectivity of the world around us. I believe, that if ever I have the chance to change art history, I would have to master and understand everything that has come before. Someday I hope I will be able to paint one of those monumental Italian paintings, with the angels and horses and clouds all moving as though caught in a snapshot of life. To me, photos will never capture the human touch that a painting has, as the painting reveals the artist as well. Every brushstroke takes energy and patience, something we can relate to either having or not. It is the marvel that is the human spirit and creativity, instead of a camera/machine that today many people take for granted.

I feel sad for those who are not able to follow their dreams after years of practice and perfection, and a sense of partnership (and sometimes competition) with those that do. If you have the resources, society and fear should not dictate what you do with your life. Fear will always be there, failure will too, but quitting will mean failure earlier than later, or maybe never at all. My fear of failing has gripped me and dragged me into some dark places, but failure to follow my passion is the scariest one of all. It is the kind that would break my spirit entirely. I would like to change the world, but right now I’m not quite sure how and although that sounds like the hardest thing to do, I have pretty high standards for myself.

In the end my message is, don’t let failure scare you from making your life about the very reason you wake up every morning. That thing may not always be worth it, it may often be difficult too, but if you get through the barriers that test your willpower, it is definitely worth failing over.