Monday, January 30, 2012

Mistakes Made Right: Valentine's Craft

At the arts retreat I attended last week, I took part in a watercolour session where we learned a lot of basic techniques in a short period of time. The amazing local artist who taught the session was full of confidence, praise, patience, and a "so what?" kind of attitude that allowed us to try stuff without fear of doing it "wrong". 

I've always been a high-achiever, and have been hard on myself if I don't like the results of something I've made. I'm growing as the years pass, however, and am learning to create just for art's sake; it's about forgiveness, and a sense of humour, and reinforces my New Year's Resolution to be gentle with myself

I was content with the waterscape, but not happy with the results of the birch tree study.
What I took away from Joyce's class was that it's OKAY to not like what you've created. It doesn't negate the experience or the learning that takes place when you just do it, or the joy of just putting a paint-loaded brush to paper.

A few days after the retreat, I decided to just make something I liked out of the birch tree painting. So I cut it up.

 With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I needed something beautiful to hang along my window. I cut the painting up into hearts, then glued them together back-to-back with a ribbon in between.
 My painting looks quite beautiful in its new incarnation, wouldn't you say?
These little hearts hang at varying lengths, and look so pretty against the white backdrop that is our winter landscape.
You don't have to love everything you make, and you certainly don't have to frame it. 

But re-imagining it can bring new eyes to your experience as an artist. Just be brave. Get out the scissors. As Shel Silverstein says, 

“Draw a crazy picture,
Write a nutty poem,
Sing a mumble-gumble song,
Whistle through your comb.
Do a loony-goony dance
'Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain't been there before.”

All art needn't be high art. Sometimes it can just be something simple, something beautiful, that you create with your own hands to tape to the window frame. 


  1. I did the exact same thing with one of my paintings last night, except I turned my hearts into bookmarks!

  2. I've always been a high-achiever, and have been challenging on myself if I don't like the outcomes of something I've created.

    scrapbook album

  3. I liked both of your paintings. Watercolor has always been one of my favorites. I'm not really an artsy sort of person...I see things I like, but I can't create it.
    On another note, I made the Aviatrix for my daughter. It is just about the cutest hat EVER!

  4. Gorgeous! Maybe I can do things like this with S&J's artwork... they are so prolific, I have no idea what to do with all of these pictures!

  5. This is so me. Saving, repurposing, making something I don't love into something utterly loveable. Wonderful perspective! I'll have to check out that art retreat one of these years. I saw the poster about it and wondered about it. It sounds lovely.

  6. Love those little hearts in front of the smokehouse!!

  7. Thank you for the lovely reminder. Sometimes it is hard to remember when you have an idea in your head that doesn't work out that it can still be beautiful. The hearts are lovely, similar to the ones in our windows and the same snow, lol.

    Have a great week.
    Jennifer @dark blue dragon

  8. I loved both of your paintings. And I love what you did with the one you were not to fond of, it looks wonderful in your window.

    And I hope you don't mind, but I think you have given me a craft project for my little man and I this week, can't wait to make some hearts with him and hang them in our window.

    Your last picture is absolutely beautiful!

  9. I thought your painting was quite well done but the Valentine's Day decor is so the blue ribbon, too and that last photo could be your Velentine's Day card this year. Gorgeous!!

  10. okay, so i quite liked the birch tree study, but what you did with it is gorgeous and cute!!!

  11. It is art with heart (okay, not quite a nutty poem, but it does rhyme). I am being serious though. There is depth in those hearts, reflecting a process of growth. Reflecting an artist's eye. Reflecting a beautiful soul.



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