100 mushrooms…and a coffee stain

Have you ever looked at a remarkable piece of artwork and wondered, “How did they do that?”
I have. We don’t normally see the thought process, the mistakes, the interaction with the almost palpable creative energy during the creation of an art piece. Even making-of videos usually have the real learning moments, the “oopsies”, edited out. All we see is the finished masterpiece, like the artist picked up the brush/pencil/digital tool and magically made exactly what they envisioned.
And maybe that’s intimidating.

Art making is not like that–at least not for me. My creative sessions are messy, accidents happen, and sometimes something turns out very differently from what I envisioned. I could try and erase or paint over the mistakes to make it more “perfectly”… or I could learn a lesson from it and celebrate what it IS.

A perfect example is the ambitious piece that was to be “100 Mushrooms”. An 18×24″ neon-bright drawing of, literally, one hundred mushrooms. I was mighty proud as I approached the final mushroom to be drawn. I was not so proud when I absent-mindedly dumped at least half a mug of tepid caffeine on the center of my nearly-finished “masterpiece”.

At first, I was mad. Now…I just find it funny. A good lesson in keeping coffee away from my work, but also in literally cutting my losses. I found two salvageable sections of the piece, one containing forty-two mushrooms, and another with six, and framed two separate pieces. No one (hopefully) would know this was not my original plan from looking at the art.

“42 Mushrooms”

I want to add some transparency to the process of making art. If I can be an artist, anybody can be an artist. You don’t need to wait until you’ve got your degree or your expensive brushes or an 8-hour uninterrupted block of time. Beginners can make beautiful art, and even experienced professionals make mistakes.
So, here is my creative process. I’ll share the inspirations I draw from, lessons I learn, coffee spills I encounter (oops!) . It’s a little bit journal, a little bit instructional, and entirely authentic. I’m always learning…come learn with me.

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