Art is a rather long, uncertain, and bumpy process. I doubt that anyone in the arts would gainsay that statement. In fact, I’m certain of it! Our artistic trial and error learning process is at best freeing, and at worse, makes you want to upend your drafting table and turn your back for good. In some ways, I did that, for a ten, long years. But I couldn’t stay away, not forever. The pull of one more pencil stroke, another experimental pen line, or one more layer of color glazed over the others, may be what gets us in to trouble sometimes, but it’s also what saves us. How? Curiosity and experimentation is the soul of learning and, in this case, the soul of art too. “Mistakes” can be intimidating, and are often infuriating, but can also lead to new awarenesses and that’s a GREAT thing. It’s part of the learning process that just about kills us, but somehow, masochistically, also keeps us coming back for more.
For the past few days I’ve been working out some new compositions and really beating myself up about it. Tonight, as I listen to my favorite Harry Connick Jr. CD, I contemplate the mess that my study has become and I think, “what is all this for?” But then I pause, and look at the watercolor study on my table and think…is it really SO bad? What has it taught me?
I believe that if you can name at least a few things that a piece HAS taught you as you stumble through it, it has served its purpose nobly. After all, not every piece is destined to become an award winner. Some have the more important role of “learning tool.” With that thought in mind, what’s a few awkward passages, or some over-mixed colors really? Next time maybe you’ll be able to do better BECAUSE of that wonderfully lacking piece that...shhhh...wasn’t really all that lacking after all.