Is It Really A Mistake If No One Notices?

8:47 AM

English Sparrow's Nesting Material
Pineapple Journal
5.5 x 5.5
Watercolor and Ink
As it turns out, I drew this quick sketch of a English Sparrow's nesting material back in early June. We were enjoying one last lunch outside at a nearby restaurant before the heat of Florida's summers makes it impossible to enjoy dining outside....unless you enjoy eating in a sauna.

Once our food arrived, I abandoned the page. Completely.

When I drew the sketch at the tea house, I drew on a blank page opposite this page. Not because I haven't sketched in this sketchbook since early June but because I tend to skip pages in my sketchbook if I want to do a full spread across both pages. This page happened to be blank for that reason.

One of the reasons why I'm not fanatical about dating my sketches is because I not only jump around  within the pages of my sketchbook, but I also jump from sketchbook to sketchbook. It becomes confusing when I date my sketches. Instead, I note when I began a sketchbook and when I filled the last page.

However, there's another reason I abandoned this page and then left it unfinished...from the very first mark I put down on the page, I had made a mistake on perspective.

That big black "I" beam? Yeah, that's the first thing I drew and it should have been at the same angle as the roof lines over the bricks on the left side of the sketch.

Would you have noticed if I had not pointed it out?

One of the things I say repeatedly on Imaginary Trips is that most people don't "see a mistake" until we point it out to them.

Chances are good that at least some of you did not notice the "mistake" until I pointed it out. Some of you may still not see it and yet others knew right away.

Is there a moral to the story? Yes, I think so.

Whereas this isn't an accurate sketch, I enjoyed finishing it—mistake and all. It was fun playing with pigments to get the look of the bricks. It also captures a memory of a lovely lunch we had this spring watching the birds build their nests. Lastly, the "mistake" is not "fatal" to the work.

They seldom are.

What are you avoiding working on or finishing because it's not perfect or even "mistake-free?"

Go ahead and get to work on finishing up...if you're anything like me, you'll find yourself enjoying it all the more because it's not perfect. There's freedom there to play and experiment.

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13 Creative Thought(s)

  1. Great lesson to remember--there are far too many things I don't finish (or sometimes don't even start!) because they are or will be full of mistakes. I like the thought that the mistake is not "fatal" to the work. I think I'll write that down on a 3 x 5 card and put it on my desk!

    1. Kj, I've lost count of unfinished projects and it's usually because it wasn't "perfect!"

  2. Bravo! Good inspiration for unfinished pages :)

  3. What a timely great post! You are so correct! Funny how you just wrote this post when I just posted something with a mistake that I am absolutely positive no one will know unless I point it out.(no I did not mention it in my post either!). You always seem to appear with something I need and always at the right time!

    1. I think the trick is being able to make the "mistakes" look like they belong!

  4. the way, can you spot my mistake??

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  6. Am amazed at the timing of your post too, I just finished an oil study I wasn't too happy with but was determined not to leave unfinished. I still don't like it and was feeling just so disappointed. Thanks for the reminder! And I love those bricks and no, I hadn't noticed the mistake, it looks as though you intended it.

    1. Mamta, I seldom like my pages! Rather, I have to give them a little bit of time to grow on me and then they're usually not so bad. Some don't ever make the cut.

      Glad you finished it. Put it away and come back to it in a few weeks or a month—you might be surprised!!

  7. Ah ... good reminder again. I know I fuss too much over my own sketches, but I love looking at other sketches regardless of how 'perfect' they might appear to me. I just get excited seeing the 'charm' that others put in their sketchbook pages, and I love to hear their stories about the where/when/how etc. of what the sketch represents. Now.... why don't I do more myself??

  8. I'm so glad I found your blog. Just reading this post has given me inspiration & the kick up the pants I needed to get back into sketching in the sketch journal my daughter bought me this time last year. I love looking at other peoples sketch journal & it's encouraging to read that everyone makes mistakes but as said what does it matter @I's Not Fatal. That will come to me when I make my next mistake ( which are many) as I'm still only a beginner, but at 71 yrs old I finaly have learnt I am not too old to learn how to do something new. Thank you so much I enjoyed reading all the comments & your encouragement. I'll pop by again soon.


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