I saw this phrase on Instagram this week.....and guess what? I did it. It happened. A page in my sketchbook that I absolutely hated!
It obviously wasn't intentional.
In my head, what I was working on was going to be amazing. I was visualising a beautiful Daggerwing Butterfly in deep purples and blues with a soft fluffy body and delicate but strong wings. But OH NOOOOO, my chosen mediums of watercolour pencils and pens had other ideas and it went the proverbial 't*ts up'. I was faced with a big brown blob staring back at me from my page. My lovely gold splattered disc of scrap paper that I'd carefully saved for this (and the only bit I had left) ruined. The rush of panic and horror spinning through my head! The art critic that regularly sits on my shoulder was loudly shouting "what the hell did you do that for? You are totally shite"!
This is, I hasten to add, something that happens to me on a VERY regular basis. We are our own worst critics and it's funny because, sometimes when I post work that I'm really proud of on my social media platforms, the pieces that I like least tend to get much more attention. This isn't a bad thing though. If we all had the same taste, life would be pretty boring don't you think?
So.....what did I do?
I left it.....and went to bed, deflated and disappointed! Knowing me, I probably had a bad dream about it too!
This brown blob of blobbyness....blobbing about on my page.....had kicked the creative confidence right out of me. It had kicked it all the way down the street, through every brown dirty blobby puddle, bouncing it off the kerbside as it went!
That was it! I was rubbish. I was not a decent artist. Artists always make great work. Everything should always come out well. I'd just made a spectacular mess!
It sounds SO very dramatic but these are the demons that I wrestle in my head and make me want to give up and throw in the towel (oh the drama of us creative types!).
I could've left it. Ripped the page out......eliminated it totally. Forgotten about it. It never happened. But then I remembered what I had stitched into the first page of my sketchbook.
'MISTAKES ARE ALLOWED'
This is EXACTLY what our sketchbooks are for!
We don't have to constantly bang out what we consider to be perfect work every time we create. We put FAR too much pressure on ourselves to do this and it's wrong.
You will NOT like everything you do.....FACT!
You MUST allow yourself to mess up and fail.
...and I use the term 'fail' loosely as I don't believe in failure. It's more of a learning curve or process.
Allow yourself to totally stuff up. It's healthy!
And a few days later, a flash of inspiration struck me out of the blue (because I was no longer overthinking it). My vintage books came out. Page re-worked, collaged, inked and stitched and my butterfly emerged again with more of a bright and colourful punch.
And I LOVE IT!
So if it doesn't quite go to plan. Leave it, move on, let it go.....it may come back and do you a favour!
PS I really wish I'd taken a picture of that brown blob to show you now. It's lurking underneath there.....I promise you....