Join me....

I believe that art enriches and informs our lives everyday in many positive ways. Sharing those experiences, whether as an artist or as an appreciator, is part of the pleasure. I welcome your comments and hope you find something of value: a laugh, an insight, a new idea or just a happy moment. Enjoy art!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Failing is an Art

Last week I gave myself permission to to learn, play to move forward, play to try new things. This week I have been thinking about the permission to fail.  Permission to fail means not always taking the same route home, it is permission to get lost and perhaps, just perhaps discover something new. (It could mean being lost for hours and needing to call for help.)

This has been a hot topic amongst the members of my creative think-tank/inspirants lately.  We have all been facing mountains and have had to decide whether to go big or go home.  Sharing this discussion with like minded artisans has been helpful.  My favorite phrase of the week was coined by Patti the Potter: audacious failure.  She decided that if she ran the risk of failing, then please o please let it be big and audacious; let the failure count for something.  In other words, even the act of failing can be an art.  Savor that thought with your morning coffee.

So, oops, where was I?  Here's an audacious failure:

This is a detail of what happens when you do not allow gesso to dry more than 24 hours!  In a hurry for the workshop I covered the canvas with two layers of gesso and set to work on it 18 hours later.  We were in the middle of layer after layer when instructor Andy Braitman had us mixing oil and WATER and throwing it on.  The water gave me away!  it seeped under the gesso and bubbled up detaching large swatches from the canvas.  Andy barely blinked....pull it back he instructed, open up the bubbles and let it dry.  oh yuck.

This was my canvas after it fully dried: a failure for sure.  Not only was the canvas showing, I had huge peels of gesso rippled all over the place and the water had washed away all of my vibrant color.  Again, the master shrugged, "you can work with it."  I had to push the "audacious failure" button on my mindset.

We were to see something in our beginnings and let the joy sing.  Many cups of coffee and all I could see was this mocking white goat or a unicorn if I were so inclined.  Not my genre.  Turning the canvas each morning I tried some more.  Hey? what did I have to lose?  that's the great part about failing a learning piece there is always more to gain.

Here we go, it is a start and I was hoping to have more to show you but I could not add another layer until this portion dries (learned that lesson the hard way...).  Do you see anything emerging?  Can you see that I really, really wanted to save that interesting turquoise blob slightly to the left of center?  I had to commit to "using" the folded gesso and eliminating some of the fascinating spatters to get this far.  More sacrifice ahead but also more additions.  I hope you can see what I see....if not stay tuned.  Going big or going home!

I leave you with a finished piece.  I seem to have sand dunes on my mind.

Summer Walk
24" x 30", oil on canvas

Enjoy your weekend.  I wish for you the comfort of friends who not only allow, but encourage, you to fail and fail audaciously!  

Boldly yours,


  1. Cindy, we all could do more of this...we tend to quit too early, declare it finished or relegate to the burn barrel. Thanks for this reminder to make lemonade.

  2. You are so right....I am trying to learn more from my "failures" pushing them further to find a tipping point of possible success or total bust. There's a great sense of freedom which sometimes works to the betterment. Appreciate your comment.


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