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The Art of Making Mistakes

"Drawing is discovery" says John Berger who goes on to say "...each mark you make on the paper is a stepping stone from which you proceed to the next, until you have crossed your subject as though it were a river, have put it behind you."

With him I agree, sketchbook drawing is a process to move through - like a mindful meditation - it is about acknowledging where you are but not holding on to that, allowing yourself to let go of those images that fail to materialise or realise their potential.

Why are we so afraid to make mistakes? Our training as school children was always to 'get it right' to strive to 'be the best' and yet as pre-schoolers we made mistakes, learnt by them. Life was about trying, and trying again, until we could. We didn't put one step in front of the other without falling many times before we walked, and then ran. Learning to ride a bicycle was fraught with bumps and bruises - but we got there!

And yet, join an adult art class and we have unrealistic expectations of early success. If we see each drawing as a new day, a new moment, a choice to begin again, perhaps we can engage our inner child and allow it to go wrong. What if we seek out the mistakes, some of which become the 'happy accidents'?

As a mixed-media artist there is a tightrope to walk, a juggling act to be performed of keeping the different elements of line, shape, pattern and texture and colour - all in the air, all playing to their merits. It doesn't always go to plan.