I was looking at some artist videos. I love expanding what I am doing and looking for new possibilities and new ways to use materials to create with. I came across something that I realise was so strong within my core values when it comes to art and the creative adventure. I kept hearing the word mistake and it was a little like they were speaking a different language. i wondered why my reaction was so strong. I realised that I don,t believe there is such a thing as a mistake in art because it is about the process and whatever happens is meant to happen and is part of the adventure’. We learn something with each mark and if it is as simple as just being in the moment, then that is enough.
Now I know sometimes things don’t look the way you want them to but I look at that as a possibility. If something isn’t working then it is an invitation to bravely add another layer and risk losing what you had. Art for me is a process of letting go and discovery that comes from a connected spiritual space. It is healing and allowing. The word mistake has no room for allowing. I am very aware of the power of words so choose them from a heart space.
When I step back from an art work ( that lovely flowing moving in and out of that close up space) I look for the areas I love. I choose to look for what works for me and then add more of that. Sometimes I simply leave a piece for a period of time and come back to it as I am not yet ready for the next step in that adventure. Every layer brings in a new energy and has an important role in the feeling of the finished piece whether you can see it or it is totally or partially covered.
The painting of my butterfly angel has gone through so many stages and a few are below. I knew that she was not finished as she did not feel right to me. It was not until I decided to take a big risk and totally reshape the wings and the dress and her whole face that she finally took shape and I knew i had given her and myself room to breath.So much of the original is still there but much is gone. I f this piece was a series of mistakes, I would have stopped and given up long ago but I knew that i would grow into whatever the painting needed next. I had to change and grow before I was ready to take her to take her the next step and into completion. At the point of writing this she is not complete but feels so close and by the time I post I assume she will be done. I don’ think there will be any more major changes of direction but that is the next step and I’m not there yet….but maybe by the time I post tonight.
“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don’t much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.
Alice: …So long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
The learning process in art is one of continual choices that shape the next step and the next. Like Alice, we all are looking for guidance on which way to go but the guidance has been there inside of us all along. It is that becoming still and choosing where to from here which is the continual quest. As you become more involved in your art adventure you will realise that the works communicate what they need at different stages in the process and you just need to be still long enough to listen to your inner feelings and you will be given a direction and then you will either choose to listen and act on that gut knowing not. This allowing of the process and play is not about holding tightly to the idea of a final display piece and completion but is the adventure. Whatever path your art takes you on is exactly where you need to be right now.
If you do one thing today that will shift your perspective on art and life, it would be to choose to change your words and begin to re-frame mistakes as choices. The Cheshire Cat wisely guides Alice back to her own choices and reminds her that it is about ‘where we want to get to.’ If you want to create a realistic art work to hang in your living room then perhaps the intuitive art process is not for you but if you want an adventure and to enjoy the freedom and possibilities of this playful process then you are home.Remember that there are no mistakes, just openings that are inviting us to the next part of our adventure. So many different ways of interpreting our world …so many adventures…and I’m just scratching the surface.