"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." - Thomas Edison
Can we just come out and say that any creative endeavor will by default involve failure?
Some of the paintings I make just don't work, and I end up painting over them. Some of the shows I apply to do not accept my work, and I move on and apply for the next one. There's always a moment of deep disappointment of course, followed by letting go and moving on.
Today I was working on a commissioned painting, using a rich purple color to detail the stem of a seed pod. As I dragged the brush down the canvas, I thought "I love this! I freaking love it!"
What I love is the process. Discovering the way layers of shape and texture and color interact with each other on the canvas is pure pleasure. I'm in this journey for the sheer joy of applying the paint to the canvas.
Accolades and praise and awards and acceptances to juried exhibitions are all just icing on the cake. The real joy is not in the end result. It's in the process of discovery -- in finding the 10,000 ways that won't work.