Successful Failure

January 23, 2013 § 8 Comments

I’m 23 days without sugar. A steady hand for doing jaw surgery, which is where I left off with last week’s portrait painting session.

Today’s post title has special meaning. Now and again I go through these ‘I’m a fraud, a failure’ stages, where I doubt myself and what I’m doing or not doing and wanting to, or think I should, etc etc…maybe you know these voices.

After calling a heart friend (thank you C!!) and receiving nourishing wisdom, I did some reading again in SWITCH: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, dynamic duo sociologists extraordinaire. Serendipitously, a blogger new to me –TravelingMarla – with a brilliant sense of humor and writerly talent that circles the globe (on fire!), was not only doing a sugar detox but writing about fear of failure and fear of success.

So this morning’s painting session took on a newly charged energy as I tackled my fears of messing with this. These first stokes to widen and lengthen the jaw cheered me.

lowering of right jaw line

lowering of right jaw line

Much better…on the right side at least. But it didn’t solve my face-shape dilemma as I’d hoped. Something was still amiss. I couldn’t leave it alone. Nooo…


…I had to noodle – left eye, hair line again, shadowing, the mouth – for 2 hours (which felt like 2 minutes). I can’t bear to tell you the things I did and didn’t take photos of…until I was sure I’d ruined TR forever. Why didn’t I leave him alone? I wanted to quit. I sat for a while looking at him from a distance with photo in hand, trying to figure out what had prompted me to mess with his mouth! Which all this time I’d thought was so great.

By simply sitting and pondering my ‘failure,’ in about a minute I realized I was in the “Valley of Insight” (as the Heath Brothers call it), and I saw it. The way out – and up the other side of the mountain: The left ear. Not long enough.

If you take your cursor and put it on the real photo in the first image of this post, at the bottom of the left ear, and draw an imaginary horizontal line across the face to the right ear, you’ll notice, that line goes right across the bottom edge of the lower lip. The painted ear (above) divides the lips. A good 1/4 inch off. That’s a lot. Whoo-hoo!

Failure suddenly became a success. By lowering that ear I’d be able to raise the mouth and make it the correct, shape to give it proper placement; less distance from the nose, and more of a chin. But I had to deconstruct the mouth to ever see it. There was no way around my ‘failure.’

In the photo below, I fixed the ear – see what I’d done to the lips? I mean, those are great lips, but they’re not his (no offense TR). Take your fingertip and cover these full lips, while squinting one eye and looking back and forth to the photo reference at the same time. The likeness is very close now, wouldn’t you say? It won’t be long.

failed mouth surgery

full-lipped TR, alias Jake’s Master

Next week: the Lip Lift.

paper towel painting - turpenoid lip removal

paper towel painting – turpenoid lip removal

I’m excited. It’s going to be okay. Even when I fall into another valley. Especially when I fall into another valley, because I own that valley. be continued.

…to be continued.


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