Learning to Trust the Process: An Art Feature by Christine Peng

With so many uncertainties in life, what is unknown can certainly be overwhelming and anxiety-inducing. For me, the process of making art teaches an important life lesson—to let go, to embrace the unknown, and to enjoy the process rather than fixate on the end result.


Frequently in my painting process, there are moments where nothing seems right—the colours seem uncoordinated, the proportions seem off—and it’s so tempting to turn a new page and start over! But trusting myself to continue despite my doubts allows me to release any expectations for a successful outcome, and to instead enjoy the process of creating something new. Trusting whatever mistake I make along the process is a learning lesson to reflect on and remember, so that I can take that knowledge into the future.


My go-to medium is watercolour, which is a fluid medium that can be unpredictable and elusive for two reasons. Firstly, the paint that comes out of the tube is not what we see on paper; its hue will change depending on how much water is added. Secondly, as paintings dry and the water evaporates, the pigments become lighter and settle in sometimes unexpected ways. Watercolours constantly surprise me—it shifts and morphs even after I’ve put down the brush. I’m constantly learning how to work with it, but learning to let go of trying to control every element of the medium, and letting its natural qualities do their thing yields the best results for me.


Letting go and trusting the process with confidence that it will all work out in the end, is the lesson from art that I apply to the often fluid and unpredictable journey that is life.