Tuesday, March 12, 2013

i love making mistakes...

well, not really but sort of ...is that an elusive enough comment or what?!

let me clarify, mistakes are awesome in art.  this is what i try to teach my own children and especially my art students.

why are mistakes so important?  well, seeing as I'm no guru and as you probably have already surmised, mistakes lead to learning and figuring out.  also, to becoming a better artist.
a first print with many editing notes
so often, people are intimidated by art and expect it to be perfect at the first go.  but what viewers see in a final piece of art is just that, a final piece of art.  the viewer does not see the eraser marks, the cursing, the crumpled papers, the 100 questions the artist has asked themselves, the 200 questions they've asked other people, and the edits upon edits upon edits.  And not only do they not see all the frustration and work behind that one specific piece, the viewer does not see all of the sketches that went into the work nor the 100s of artworks that are not shown.
the drawing before it is transferred to the linoleum block.  i changed it again after i took this picture too!
This photo shows the first print and all of my notes on how i felt it needed to be edited.
art takes practice, art requires learning and art is frustrating.  and because of all of these things, art is extremely rewarding and in the end, really fun.  BUT it does take work...and i tell you all of this from my own experiences.
as you can see, i totally messed up the words on the bottom portion of the circle...oops!  frustrating and annoying yes, but i had to figure something out..... 
I really wanted to quote so i decided to create a second block that would have the quote.  This would then allow me to use just the one block without the quote or use both blocks and have two colors.
and this is what i came up with...i love the two colors and i think i like it even more because of the challenge.
i try to pass on these experiences and this understanding to my students.  for instance, they often get frustrated drawing animals and i understand....drawing is difficult.  but, as i tell them, once you know what's not right, you know what needs to be fixed.
here is an example of a typical conversation that may take place in my class:

student:  "Mrs. May, this elephant looks stupid!  it looks like an alien!"
me:  "well, maybe not an alien, perhaps a jelly fish.  just teasing!"
(both of us giggle.)
student:  "can i just start over?!"
me: "yes you can if you want but first let's figure out what's not correct.  what specifically don't you like about your elephant?"
student: "the body looks dumb"
me: "how so?"
student: "it's just not right...it's, like, too small."
me: "i agree.  so that's one thing you could fix.  perhaps too you could make it more round"
student: "and look at it's ears!"
me: "yes, i think those should be bigger."

so, that's the start of "fixing" art...figuring out what is wrong. if you know what's wrong, you know what needs to be corrected.  i had a professor one time tell me that if you use words to describe out loud what you need to fix, it is a bit easier.  it's true, i do it all the time.

people often believe they just aren't good at art... more so, they may have just not have given it the time to be good at it.  allowing yourself to make mistakes and investigating them, will guide you to making things right.

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