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Weekly Blog on creativity and what it takes to be an artist by David Limrite (artist, teacher, mentor & coach)


Blog 1:6:19 Copyright 2019 David Limrite Artist Teacher Coach Mentor Take Advantage Of That Mistake.jpg

Sketchbook Tour. Page 1. 12”x 9”. Acrylic, charcoal and ball point pen on paper. © 2019 David Limrite

“The painting may be all wrong to me at one moment, and then perhaps some slight alteration can throw the stance of the thing in a different way so that perhaps it can be almost right, or miraculously right to me.”
Richard Diebenkorn, Artist

Take Advantage Of That Mistake

I have written about “mistakes” many times before, however, I thought that the beginning of a new year would be a great time to revisit this topic.

If you have been reading this blog for awhile, then you know that I consider mistakes to actually be opportunities. For learning. For growth. And, even for something special to happen.

I also think that a “mistake” is really nothing more than something that happened, during the creation of my painting, that I did not expect.

Whenever I feel as if I have made a mistake, the first thing I try not to do is panic! Panicking, getting upset and frustrated only lead to making poor decisions.

Instead, I breathe, put my brush down, back away from the painting, and look. I look not just at the “mistake”, but at the entire painting.

The “mistake” is not going to get any worse while it is waiting for me to decide what to do next.

I look at the entire painting for the new opportunities that have just presented themselves, (because of the “mistake” that just happened).

What do I get to do next? Cover it up and try again? Sand it out and start over? Collage over it? Or, incorporate it into the painting?

Maybe, upon second glance, the “mistake” was actually the thing that the painting needed at this time. If I decide to incorporate the “mistake” into the painting, then it is no longer a “mistake”. Right?

How can I now take advantage of it?

Did the “mistake” add a certain kind of texture, color, line, movement or energy that might have been missing.

Did the “mistake” miraculously add something to the painting that I could not allow myself to contribute on my own?

Now that it is there, can I allow myself to include it and maybe even create more areas similar to it?

I can always get rid of it, if I decide I don’t like what happened. I can always fix a mistake.

However, I find it more fun and challenging to find the opportunities that mistakes present, and try and take advantage of them. 



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