Mistakes as Teachers


When I was in college, a professor of mine always advised his students not to let their paintings become too “precious” to them.  If you do, you will keep them the way they are, and never take risks.  One way that this advice has benefited me is in correcting mistakes.  When I first started painting I would think “Well, that person’s eye is a bit too low, but if I move it, I might not be able to repaint it as well as I did.”  So I would leave it in the wrong place.  Now I know that if I cling to my painting too much, I will never have the courage to fix my mistakes.  I have to let go of it for a while and trust that when the mistake is corrected, the painting will look better than ever.

I briefly mentioned in my previous post that I use my computer to help me recognize my mistakes.  I download the latest picture of the paintings and flip back and forth between the reference photos and the paintings really fast.  This helps me see the differences between my work and the reference photo.  I write down notes of what needs to be fixed so I don’t forget.

Here are two photos that show how I begin to correct something that is not right.

My parting word for now is this:  A great way to learn from your mistakes is to acknowledge them and make things right!

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About Melody

My name is Melody Martin. Check out my art blog, and learn all about the steps and techniques that go into oil paintings.
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