Making Beautiful Mistakes

Whenever I’m in a city I hit as many museums as I can, and to me the best thing about Washington D.C. is its museum network.

Not only are a lot of them free but there’s something for everyone, from prehistoric bones to modern art. I’m a fan of the latter, so when I was there for the Women’s March I visited the Hirshhorn and took in its small but exquisite collection.

I was blown away by Linn Meyers’s exhibit, “Our View From Here,” and have been thinking about it ever since.

Making Beautiful Mistakes

She drew these huge murals by hand in ink, and the thing that’s fascinating is that each one was formed from mistake on mistake on mistake.

Meyers started with one line (and surely an idea of what she wanted to create), but her hand would inevitably quiver, or she’d make some other kind of small error. But instead of erasing and starting over, she’d include and expand on the error with each successive line, so by the time the mural was completed, the mistakes had become part of the artistry and movement of the piece.

Making Beautiful Mistakes

This idea of embracing mistakes and incorporating them into your process is such a powerful one, don’t you think? Instead of cursing yourself, erasing, and starting all over, you flow with the mistake until it becomes an important element of your work (or your life, for that matter).

What a way to be kind to yourself! No more self-flagellation over the misguided idea that perfection is possible or even desirable. Just take the mistake and make something good out of it.

That’s my thought for you for the day: mistakes happen, so make a small course correction and move on. No hair shirt required. ๐Ÿ™‚ 

(If you want to see Meyers in action, check out the time-lapse video of her creating one of these beauties.)

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  1. Ron Hagg April 25, 2017 at 8:57 am #

    very good advice. Thanks
    Ron Hagg recently posted…HAGGMEDIAMy Profile

    • deonne April 25, 2017 at 9:08 am #

      Ron – Glad you think so! It’s a good reminder for me as well.

  2. Robert Toscano April 25, 2017 at 9:33 am #

    Dearest Deonne,
    It’s always a unique pleasure to touch your eyes with my eyes, to see what you have seen and share your delights and advice in the colors and whispers of what moves your soul. Your playful soul is what shakes the feet and moves the mind with Sam in tow, a comment from Mom, thoughtful stops and observations. Digital Camera in hand, (pencil behind the ear, moleskin in rear pocket)(no photographic evidence of this, although I have seen your butt in a few photos), When you can, you are driven to the RV in recreational writing all while on the go to a predetermined destination. Break that sentence up, in any form you like poetry or run on. While on the run… through DC’ museums you found Art. From your post I was beleaguered to find I had never heard the term “No Hair Shirts”. Not knowing what it meant, I was rewarded with a membership to a self publishing sight LULU, and a free 267 page e book entitled “Cooling It: No Hair Shirt Solutions to Global Warming”, with chapter headings like; Canโ€™t Hide Your Lying Eyes, and Big Wheels Keep On Turning. It’s fun getting gifts from you, I have been busy jumping in and out of jobs, restructuring my debt to great benefit, getting the kids through college, mortgage re-financed, plantings around the house, cars fixed, food on the table, staying away from Facebook, discovering the world through the friendliest bunch of Instagram artists. Missing a place in my heart are the Bloggers I use to follow. Thank you.

    • deonne April 25, 2017 at 9:45 am #

      Rob – What a beautiful, thoughtful post. Thank you. You’re not far off on the pencil and Moleskine ๐Ÿ™‚ I appreciate the update on your busy life, and happy you appreciate me sharing what I see out there in the big wild world. Sending you much love.

  3. Lynda April 26, 2017 at 6:52 am #

    Omg the way Robert described you in such gorgeous language, how BEAUTIFUL!
    And Meyer’s WAVES, if those are mistakes then what AWESOME ONES and yes I will temember this lesson and go foreward and trust it will all work out>>>> thank you once again for your kind & insightful wisdom<<<<

    • deonne April 26, 2017 at 7:40 am #

      Lynda – Aren’t they gorgeous mistakes? An important life lesson, in my book. So glad it resonated with you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Sherry in MT May 2, 2017 at 5:34 pm #

    I do so love the movement in that piece! We certainly are not conditioned to embrace our mistakes but rather be critical and cover them up. What a creative way to turn that around.

    • deonne May 3, 2017 at 7:35 am #

      Sherry – Yes! I love everything about these murals, and there even more awesome in person.

  5. Emilie Vardaman June 3, 2017 at 2:29 pm #

    I have been in DC only a few times and once I had time to visit a part of the Smithsonian. Wow, just wow. I’d love the opportunity to visit again one day.
    Emilie Vardaman recently posted…The Prime SuspectMy Profile

    • deonne June 6, 2017 at 10:00 am #

      Emilie – I hope you get to go! It’s small enough so it’s manageable, and they have interesting rotating exhibits.

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