The Art of Mistakes: Unexpected Painting Techniques and the Practice of Creative Thinking
“The Art of Mistakes: Unexpected Painting Techniques and the Practice of Creative Thinking delivers an inspiring message that affirms the nascent artist in all.”
The capacity for creativity exists within us, so claims artist/author Melanie Rothschild. Her new book, The Art of Mistakes: Unexpected Painting Techniques and the Practice of Creative Thinking beckons the nascent artist inside.
Rothschild’s inspiring words may embolden many who are certain they are too talentless to even try their hand at art. Rothschild advises the reader to let go and unleash the creative flow. “Thou shalt not make anyone ever feel excluded from the exuberant gift of art because it belongs to each and every one of us-one of the best perks of being a human being.”
Rothschild is a successful artist (by commercial standards) who did not pursue formal training. Her work relies heavily on life experience, awash in tribal motifs, vigorously patterned images that abound with color and texture. She eschews formal training, claiming it establishes unwelcome boundaries that inhibit creative flow. Mistakes are part of the glorious process of creating. They are not to be feared, but rather embraced as opportunities. Like Alice’s unexpected slide down the rabbit hole, a mistake is a marvelous misstep into a channel that carries the artist toward exquisite possibilities.
If you find yourself in agreement with Rothschild’s view, you will smile and recall those childhood times when you were instructed to be neat and only draw within the lines of your new coloring book. Or perhaps you’ll remember the time you colored a frog pink, only to be told that frogs are green. Artists, like children, must be free to express themselves. To Rothschild, art and play are synonymous.
“Artists get to have fun and indulge in ways others only dream about but with no horrendous downside. Using the ‘wrong’ color, shape or texture isn’t going to land you behind bars or in the emergency room.”
Of the book’s 122 total pages, half expound on the author’s views on true creativity as expressed above. The next 60 pages present Rothschild’s own artistic processes. With detailed instructions and engaging illustrations she discusses some of the original techniques employed in her work. These processes are accessible. She uses mundane materials in innovative ways to render texture and pattern. Some of these materials are toothbrushes, string, broken paintbrushes, cardboard, rolling pin and fingers. The results are charming.
A reader interested in cultivating inventiveness will be inspired by this book. It is wonderful to be inspired, but one may also see a contradiction here. On the one hand, the first half of the book sermonizes about the unfettered creative process. She spends the second half of the book instructing the reader on techniques. Could this instruction Rothschild offers guide too forcefully and, in so doing, curtail our creative freedom?
In the end, The Art of Mistakes: Unexpected Painting Techniques and the Practice of Creative Thinking delivers an inspiring message that affirms the nascent artist in all. For those in whom that playful imaginative child lies dormant, Melanie Rothschild’s book is a call to action. Artistry is a state of mind; dance in the rain, color outside the lines, and never worry about messing up. In art, and so too in life, blunders can be beautiful.
“Artists are artists in the way they think and love in all aspects of life.”