Learning From Mistakes

When I was a college student in art school, we were assigned the creation of an engineered border (meaning a border that coordinates with another allover pattern). Think of a mid 90s' bedspread or something like that.

I am a giant Monty Python fan and always liked this sort of crusades imagery - and I thought this sort of thing would lend itself to a repeating border. The Bayeaux Tapestry in France is a very impressive inspiration. Google that one!

The biggest challenge for me was the color. In textiles, the original artwork is often in terrible colors because it is easier for engravers to work with. And the colors that worked in the border did not do such a great job in the pattern. I like this as a painting but not as a printed fabric!

So the color was a constant battle and you'll notice the background appears to have two shades and one of the beige motifs in the bottom right looks a little pink. Well guess what. You cannot paint gouache over a strong color and not have a consequence. Over time certain pigments will leach into the top color and distort it. So the slightly pink motif stands out because I painted beige over bright red and now it looks weird. Same with the background. I tried another color, changed my mind, and painted right on top. Oops.

But I have grown to really love these flaws because

a) I learned something important

b) I learned to test on fast sketches or on acetate overlays

c) I learned to blot out fugitive colors with clear water before repainting

d) the mistakes prove this is a painting and not something spit out by a machine

e) the distortion may or may not be done. Gouache is very fussy and this could continue. But I am pretty sure 99% of the changing is already done.

So this now hangs on my wall very prominently and it brings me great joy. It reminds me that imperfections are fine and it also reminds me to THINK FIRST.