Creative possibility comes from getting it wrong.

Studio mess – my home – time to de-clutter. 8’X11″ charcoal quick sketch.

“Oh, I could never draw or paint like that.”

“I’m not a writer like you.

“My photographs don’t compare to yours.”

If I had a dime for each time I heard these comments or others like them, all of my creative work could be used for charity fundraising because I would be independently wealthy. The sad thing is these statements are not true. They are lies we come to believe because we compare our attempts with finished products rather than the process that lead to their creation.

Here is a best kept secret: creative excellence comes from getting things wrong. Yes, wrong. As I commented on Coffee Messiah’s blog this morning, one of my drawing teachers, Glenn Howarth, was fond of saying things like: “It is the shoulder or wrist you struggle to draw that teaches you the anatomy of an arm.”

This is why I have committed to showing you my first morning “awakener” sketch. These first sketches are to engage me in the creative process. My sleepy eyes begin to frame, compose and dig at the relationship between elements I am about to sketch. My stiff arm and hand begin to respond to these relationships. In these first sketches, few mental barriers about “getting it right” have been erected. My judgment is left aside – these are not “keepers” they are “awakeners.”

In a three-hour drawing class, I often do 30 quick sketches that progressively increase in length until it is time to settle into the last hour-long sketch. When I am doing a photo shoot, I may take 150 images with maybe three becoming “keepers.”

Hours and days of exploring “that which is not yet quite right” leads to the creative possibility for success. This is where we discover our unique creative expression. This is where we learn our craft. We learn what is possible by getting it wrong.

My first quick sketch of the day is to inspire you to say to yourself – “hey, I can do that!” And you can.

Here is the last of my chosen three out of 150 shots of mist…

View and purchase full resolution image here.

Sprout Question: What do you do to strengthen your creative possibility?

p.s. Glenn Howarth was the most outstanding art instructor I have had the pleasure of working under. I am forever grateful for the few short years I was in his figure drawing classes. Glenn Howarth died last year at the age of 62. Very little of his thinking and work is on-line but here is an article he wrote that was published in  Canadian Art and Art Resource Directory: “Pictophile – Plein Air Painting”

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.