Going to purple, failure as a new beginning


Success and failure paintings of  Los Angeles creative artist Wessel

I call it ‘going to purple.’

That moment of frustration when I look at a canvas, hate everything I see, and fuck it all up. Sometimes I use a brush, sometimes my hands, sometimes it’s whatever tool I have next to me. I swirl, swipe, wipe, and mix until everything but this muddy dark purple remains. These harsh actions are usually accompanied by some satisfying ‘yargh!’ of frustration.


My first feeling is of failure. All those supplies, wasted. My time, wasted. The canvas, wasted. All that waste...and the only thing that remains is this funky dark purple and this nasty grumble of a self-loathing in my gut.


I hate to fail.

For so many reasons the taste of it is so bitter in my mouth. The cost, the time, the emotion I thought i was putting into the piece. I strive to succeed and anything but...and the pressure I’m under...it feels like a rock sinking my soul. I’m pretty sure you all know the feeling.


But, in the depths of that anger, I’ve learned to spin things on their head. Not because I want to, but, because I have to. The path of an artist is a long, hard, and perilous one. It means constantly striving outside my comfort zone in order to improve. It means doing things I’ve never done before, over and over and over again. It means never being truly comfortable in what I’m doing because that which I desire will always be just outside my grasp. It means learning to accept failure as just another daily part of what I do.

Success and failure paintings of  Los Angeles creative artist Wessel

It’s insane to think that everything I create will be a success.

That kind of philosophy of never failing a brutal kind of masochism that’s unsustainable. Social media drives into our brains this concept of success only. Everything that’s done must be just-so. That the in-between of starting something and finishing something doesn’t exist. But, it does. The process that takes us there is filled with failure.


Going to purple means something important to me, and getting to this was not easy at all. But, necessary. It means a brand new canvas. What started as white, is now purple. All those mistakes I made, just lessons to be learned from so that next time I won’t go to purple for those reasons...though I might, and that’s ok. I mean, when you get right down to it, I’m still alive, and it’s just paint.

Success and failure paintings of  Los Angeles creative artist Wessel

Every time it happens, and it happens a decent amount, I remember to take a deep breath.

Well, more like 4 or 5 because my blood is usually raging. I refuse to let that self-hate creep in, those deep saddening feelings of nothing will ever come together, I refuse with all my might. I take a couple minutes to trace my path that got me to purple and see the lesson I taught myself. Do this, don’t do this, try more of this, less of that, next time do...


Taking that time, recognizing those feelings, helps prevent that purple from coming up too. Those moments where I would say failure suddenly become moments where I’m like, I’ve got nothing to lose now so what if I tried...and that’s how progress happens.


I’m never going to be as good as I want to be.

I think that’s a common sentiment that drives artists. We’re always trying to create our best work...and never really succeeding. That’s why we try again and again, hopefully until the day we die of natural causes. Going to purple is just a normal thing and once you realize that, that’s when you can truly begin to grow.

Thanks for stopping by and reading! Don’t forget to check out the Merch and see if there’s something you want. Every purchase helps to keep this artist going :)


Success and failure paintings of  Los Angeles creative artist Wessel

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