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Giving Ourselves Space to Make Mistakes


Kelly Anne Powers Mixed Media Artist Experimentation. It's so important. And yet, often it's really hard to do. You start to like what you see under your fingers and suddenly the journey becomes more about not messing it up and less about creative discovering. You're working against something as opposed to toward something. That's a terribly, terrible way to create. Even worse, it almost guarantees you won't learn anything. Because anything that deviates from what you have won't be seen as a jumping off point but instead as a sharp veer toward disaster. This is one of the main reasons I love these 100 day projects. You've created a space for you to make terrible art. And in that space, you can make amazing discoveries.


I've found that certain pattern sizes work best on my 8x8 floral squares. But last night I was running out the door to my art group. I hurriedly grabbed some easy-to-transport stencils, but I didn't snag any of my usual go-tos. Instead I had the one you see above. And when I laid down the paint I immediately regretted it. I felt that twinge you do when you think you're on a roll and then think the roll has slammed squarely into a wall.  I panicked a bit. (As you do.) Added a glaze of white to calm the crazy busy background down and then, resigned, started to add my pen lines. And you know what? I freaking loved it. Loved it. I loved the modern feel it gave the piece. I loved all the hard, angled edges surrounding the soft curves of the flowers and leaves.


And it was another reminder that play is such an integral part of creativity and artistic growth. Sometimes it’s in small ways like discovering that a new pattern will work with a current style. Maybe it’s something bigger. But we can’t get there if we don’t genuinely allow ourselves the space to make mistakes.

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