Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Mistake is Only An Embellishment Opportunity!

So time for another musing from me.

I was reading on one of the groups I belong to that a fellow artist was unhappy with something she had created. She felt it was better to leave it black and white and she had added color to it. She wanted to do it over and see if she liked it better. Another artist commented that there are no do-overs and that she needs to work on the color more or embrace what she has done and move on.

So what do I think about that whole conversation? Well.... I see the merit in what was discussed and I am kind of on the same page when it comes to the idea that you should "keep working on it". But there is a better way and it's something that I continually try to teach in my class.

A mistake is only an embellishment opportunity. (Now, everyone, come on and say it along with me.)

Technically there are no real mistakes in art, they are only learning experiences. If you don't like what you did don't stop and do it over ... KEEP GOING! Cover it up with something and move on. There are many times in the process of doing a piece of art that I am not happy with it. But I keep going because I trust myself to make the right decisions and that in the end it will look pretty. Mind you I didn't say it will look like what I had envisioned in the first place but I usually end up liking what I do. Don't sweat that it didn't come out exactly like you saw in your head. IT NEVER WILL!!! That's why artists keep making art. We are chasing that elusive picture in our mind and trying to create it on a piece of paper.

Here's what you can do to help yourself with being an artist (Not a crafter.) Keep an art journal. No... you don't write in it.... you do art in it. Try and do something every day or if you are busy do it once a week. Keep the journal as a place to try new techniques and make your mistakes there instead of the on the "real" piece of art. Don't worry about showing the journal to anyone because that is not the point. It is your "scrap" piece of paper to make sure the color is right or the technique has been practiced. I don't keep a journal but I am making one to start doing this very thing in. With that said whenever I make something using a technique that is new to me I do a sample first before I ever start the "real" piece of art. Yes I still make "mistakes" on my real art but I'm a really good embellisher and I have the supplies to prove it.

Please leave a comment on what you think about this subject. I look forward to our next little conversation. LOL!!!


Elaine A said...

Hi Val -

I agree with you. If you don't like how it looks, keep on going. Add something to it, cover it, put it down and take a look at it later. Picking it back up later gives you time to get over your initial frustration, and this time, you may see potential.
Some of my favorite things have been the results of "mistakes" or "I don't like how this turned out".

Elaine Allen

June said...

great post val. I agree, keep it going and move it into something beautiful but different
hugs June xxx

Electra said...

I think there's merit to both sides of the "argument". I would never tell an artist what to do with her own work, I think most of us do challenge ourselves. But if the artist is not happy with what she's working on, I think it's perfctly OK to start over.It may be a matter of being true to her current vision, not taking the easy way out. Just my opinion!

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

I have read and lurked....this brings me forward! (love your blog, BTW)
I firmly believe in keeping things and pushing forward. I am a slwo worker, and sometimes I will vehemently dislike a piece but not know what to do with it at the moment. I keep it in site and usually move on to something else.
Then, out of the blue, it will provide the perfect starting place for a fine piece of art.
All that we do has some form of potential; sometimes it is learning how a medium reacts, sometimes it is stepping outside our comfort zone, but at the end of the day, those little *imperfection* are just unfinished thoughts.....
Keep them.
They will be useful! :)


Janet Ghio said...

Yes! Valerie--this has always been my mantra--well maybe not those same words--but I've always worked that way--if you don't like it, add a bead or a bauble or some thread!! or more paint--whatever works!!

Anonymous said...

I too believe in creating a sample piece first when it comes to trying something new before I jump headfirst into the real deal.

You are so correct ... in my experience, no project has ever turned out "exactly" how I envisioned it. Sometimes better, to my utter surprise, other times there are a myriad of mistakes along the way. Finding ingenious ways to remedy those "errors" is all part of the creative process.

My grandmother was very artistic. I used to spend many days in her presence, learning from her talented hands and mind. Mind you, even then I was very much a perfectionist at such a tender age. She would often remind me that when creating art there are no mistakes. There is only an ever changing canvas that awaits manipulation.

Great post, Valerie!

Anonymous said...

When I taught art in grade school, it was a constant battle getting the kids to keep on going. One pencil line on a paper and they were ready to ball it up and toss it.
My mantra then, and still (similar to yours), was and is, "a mistake is an opportunity to be creative."
Then I'd hit them with the guilt are expensive, we can't waste anything, make it work, yada yada yada.
Eventually they got it. Me too.
Nothing is wasted, including time. If after all is said and done, I still don't like it, at least I've learned something.
And, I have no problem cutting or tearing a piece up and then using said scraps in a collage. The whole may not look great to me, but often parts of is are just fine.
I enjoy this conversation. I realize there's no right or wrong answer, but I do believe there are no mistakes and that any time making art is time well spent, even if the end result doesn't thrill you.

Diana E. said...

I'm late as usual in commenting on this date, but would still like to comment. I most always do a practice sheet on a new technique. It saves time in the long run and yes, I do cover up my mistakes with an embellishment. Hoping it will stay stuck. Lol...I'm not an artist tho...still consider myself a crafter & maybe one day !