Make Mistakes

“Art is about building a new foundation, not just laying something on top of what’s already there.” Prince


Heart-a-Day #4 Op Art Heart

Many of these Heart-a-Day drawings have flaws. I was aware when they occurred, but decided to live with them and move on. While I can still see the oops, I think they make each piece unique and original.

Each year, before I teach my first art lesson, I read to the class “A Big Mistake.” It was written by Lenore Rinder and illustrated by Susan Horn. This story is about a child who makes a mistake while creating a piece of art. They get frustrated, taking it out on their artwork by blotting and splashing paint on it. But then they stop and look at the work and see it’s potential. Finishing it, they become satisfied with the results. I want my class to know that – both as artists and students – when they make a mistake, they can say “oops” and move on.

I make mistakes every day I teach. To be honest, most days I make several. I try not to dwell on them. I find it much better to acknowledge what I did, then think of how I can improve or change it. I want to learn from my mistakes – and bid them farewell. I’ll even say to the class, “Oops! Mr. Stanley made another mistake. I better fix it and move on. “There are no flaws in artwork,” my friend Bette likes to say, “mistakes add interest and individuality.”

I think this also is very true for teaching.

What do you do when you make a mistake? How can you fix or change it? Can you learn from it, let it go and move on? Do you have to hold onto it or can you forgive yourself? How can your mistakes add to your interest and individuality as a teacher? Make the mistake. You’ll be surprised how it improves your teaching.

(Access to these photographs does not constitute a transfer of copyright or a license for commercial use.  The images are for personal use only.  No portion of the images can be used without the expressed written permission of Michael B. Stanley, Jr.)

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I am an artist, musician, author and kindergarten teacher wanting to share what I have learned about teaching and making art.

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