Tuesday, February 18, 2014

It's Okay to Fail

The weather was great outside so I thought I'd go out to our backyard spa yesterday afternoon to sketch it, since one of the things going on these days is our search for a replacement spa cover.  I approached drawing this with a somewhat cavalier attitude...it's just a 4-sided spa, how difficult can it be?  And I held up my viewfinder and started drawing...in pen.

As you can see from the version on the left page, it didn't turn out so well!  Oops.  It's funny how the mind has trouble seeing what is actually there when it thinks it "knows" how it should be.  My mind tricked me!

So I realized that this attempt could not be salvaged, so I decided to leave it (as a cautionary tale) and start again.  Now that I realized that my brain can trick me, I took the drawing task more carefully, using pencil to mark cross-hair guidelines, dots of the corners of the spa, etc.  When I was sure I had the proportions relatively correct, I then drew in ink.  Much better.

It's okay to fail.  Sure, it's easy to regard it as a blemish in my book, but it teaches me something (that the mind can make assumptions about shapes and angles when I draw something, and I need to pay attention), and that is even more valuable than a perfect drawing!

Roz Stendhal recently had a blog post that is very relevant to my experience here:  Go Ahead and Fail Today.  In it she links to a wonderful video of Milton Glaser talking to us about the fear of failure.  If you are always successful, you do not develop in your endeavor, period!


Laure Ferlita said...

Love this post, Stacy! I wish more folks viewed making mistakes as learning opportunities as you do. We learn much faster when we stop and take the time to study our attempts that did not go as planned rather than rush to throw them away or cover them up.

Love the spa area—looks very peaceful and inviting!

Stacy said...

Thank you for your lovely comment, Laure! I admit, leaving that page there and showing it to the world was a little difficult, because it is a little embarrassing, but I feel it important to let others know it is actually okay, and good can come from it.