I Believe in Mistakes

Eleanor - Garden Grove, California
Entered on April 5, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
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Drawing had always been a fun and exciting thing. It has enable me to create the images that are constantly floating around in my mind, visualize creativity at its peak and fully experience the joy of creating something out of nothing. But if I ever made a mistake, just a quick rub of the eraser and I was fine, mistake fixed. And then I tried to paint. At first it was invigorating, colors popped, danced, and sang on my paper in a swirl of hues and then a simple ill-fated stroke and my picture was ruined. The beautiful harmony, flowing lines and rich color were now a very muddy brown splat. I was so disappointed at the end of all my hard work that I naively vowed never to let that happen again.

I soon found myself trying to find even the slightest reassurance in not only painting but also everything I did. I seemed to be agitated in making the slightest mistake. I couldn’t understand my brain, why was I so afraid to put my brush to paper? I truly believe that looking within myself led me to the stark realization that it wasn’t about painting anymore it was about fear. Fear that I wasn’t able to go back, fear that I couldn’t undo my mistake, fear that it was permanent.

As a teenager most of the mistakes I make are trivial and easily remedied. But as a young adult I also know that there will be a time in my life where I may make a decision that will either be the greatest thing to ever happen or the worst mistake of my life. A silly notion but it plagued me for days on end till my mother pointed out to me that the greatest artists have been known to paint over canvases. Enlightened I decided to try out my newfound knowledge on my nice new shiny folder and to ensure no regrets I used multicolored sharpies. Not only did it come out decent I enjoyed the liberating feel of not caring.

After all what’s a life that’s only in shades of gray? I have the potential to paint my world and should I ever make the mistake of an ugly muddy splat on my life I can always paint it over and start again.