I had a rough evening last night. With only 13 days to go, I can feel the pressure. I was working on a piece that I had completed the initial two stages previously during the week. I thought it was looking pretty good. ..and then I made a mistake. Ouch! I was REALLY mad.

The challenge I have with a large piece – or any piece for that matter – if I make a mistake it is very difficult and nearly impossible to correct it. Spelling errors, bleeding ink, calligraphy strokes that don’t meet correctly, spacing snafus, ink smudges – ugh! These are real killers, bummers, points of frustration when I’m in the studio. And it happened on a new piece last night.

Now what? Throw it out, put it in a drawer, resurrect it later – what to do? Here’s what happened. I was writing on the border of the piece and when I finished it wasn’t spaced the way I wanted. So that final portion had ruined the other two portions that I have completed earlier in the week. Ouch! After a few cuss words and some heavy sighing, I put it aside and worked on something else. Had to clear my mind/hand and think on something else. Once I had a couple hours of good work completed, I put the ‘ruint’ piece back on my drafting table…and took a long hard look. I then dug into my magical bag of creative tricks…

What, a magical bag of creative tricks. What’s that? Let me explain. When I was first traveling to Belgium in 1992 to study calligraphy with international artists I had a very wise friend of mine – Sandra Gittleman – give me a piece of advice. She suggested that I begin saving my ideas, thoughts, sayings and creative tidbits in one folder, one notebook, one safe place. Every time I had an idea, class or creative piece of something that I wanted to save – put it in the notebook. She is an AWESOME artist and I greatly respect her work and talent…so I not only listened, I acted. I bought a blank sketch book and began the process of writing down creative items, thoughts, things, and stuff in that sketch book. After 19 years of ideas, and three books later – I now have a magical bag of creative tricks, alias these notebooks.  So I pulled my first one out and after flipping through a couple pages the solution to my ‘ruint’ piece was right before my eyes. A friend had sent me an envelope in 1992 that utilized the negative space in letters to add color. That envelope was pasted into the notebook and jumped off the page. By doing the same thing on the border I had badly spaced, it solved the problem. The color hides the spacing issue and added dimension to the piece – and now I am VERY satisfied with it. So much so that I will frame it this weekend and sell it in the show.

This experience reminds me of a saying I put on the booth tables…”Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which mistakes to keep.” Glad I kept this one…and acted on that wise advice so many years ago.