Thursday, August 21, 2014

That Glaring Mistake

I hate that moment when things start to fall apart. That first mistake that leads to the point where you just want to throw your work across the room, and pretend that it didn't happen.

This can happen to me at any point, and about anything. I hope I am not alone in this, and that wanting to forget your work had even happened gives you more peace of mind than dwelling on the fact that you put in so much effort, and then in the end one mistake messed things up completely. Or that a mistake that wasn't such a big deal in the beginning got progressively worse and worse till no band-aid will fix the mess you have made of things.

Both of these kinds of mistakes happened to me this week. Not really art related, but I broke my kid this week. Not in the physical sense, but in the emotional sense. We had gone to a park that was further away from home than normal, and on the way home he fell asleep in the car. Normally I would still give him a nap when we get home, but he wasn't acting tired so I just let him go without.

Unfortunately, that is where things began to spiral out of control. That one, not so great decision, to let him skip his nap, lead to further, not so great decisions. So later in the afternoon he got super grumpy. Turns out he had actually needed that nap in the first place. This lead me to think that, though it was late for him to be taking a nap that I should just give him one anyways so that he would stop being such a grump. Then the nap got a little long, and I began to worry that he wouldn't be able to sleep at night. So thus precipitated another stupid decision, of waking him up to have dinner.

This train of events, and poor decision making lead to spending the rest of the evening with a child that had a horrible mental break down. A couple hours filled with uncontrollable unconsolable sobbing was what all of these mistakes lead to. That one mistake of a decision to let him skip a nap lead to an atrocious night.

The other mistake this week was on my current watercolor portrait I am working on. It is a picture I have of my great-grandma when she was young. I have always love this picture, her with her bobbed hair cut, and cute little tilted head smile for the camera. It is great.

I have never been really confident in my ability to do a good portrait picture. So when this piece went well, I was pleasantly surprised. It was amazing to me that I have improved as much as I have in this skill set. I began to feel confident that this was going to be one of my best portraits yet. The paint was going down nicely and my line work was solid. I really had nothing to complain about.

Then it happened. I had finished the face and hair, the most difficult parts of the work and decided to move onto the blouse. Since this is a picture of my great-grandma in her youth, this picture is obviously in black and white. I had decided to make it a color picture, to practice my flesh tones. I hadn't really decided at that point what color I was going to paint the shirt. So on a whim I picked a red tone and started filling in the space.

This was not a good idea. It was a mistake to take action before I was completely sure what I was doing. Many times, our greatest mistakes are not the ones where we accidently smudge a line or sneeze while trying to do some detail. Our biggest mistakes come when we act without thinking. The color I had chosen looked exactly like the way I felt about it, garish and discoordinate with the rest of the piece. It was too bright and didn't match the careful tone of the rest of the piece.

It was too late to get rid of that color. It kind of broke me in side. This part of the piece that should have been so easy was ruined not because of my lack of skill, but because I didn't take it seriously enough. I had been so concerned with the details of the face, that when it came to the simple task of making a shirt I messed the whole piece by not giving it as much attention and care as I had with the rest of the piece.

I was able to fix the color and make the blouse look okay, but it still bothers me. When I look at this piece now I will only be able to see the muddied colors of the top and the poor detail quality because the paper got over worked. My mistakes will always be visible to me.

Seeing our mistakes on display like this teach us to not make them again. The sad thing is that I cannot go back with the knowledge I have now and fix it. All I can do is make sure that in the future I use what I know now to avoid the mistakes of the past.

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