Good News about Epic Art Failures

fun creative watercolor techniques, watercolor with palette knife, mountain landscape,

The Good News is there’s a lot to be gained by yesterday’s art wreckages.

This morning I reviewed my ‘artistic overflow of enthusiasm’  i.e. experiments that look pretty horrible.   I came up with a plan and 6 ways these less than ideal images can be of use to me.

I’m quite determined to salvage the wreckage from each one.


Pastel clouds
Pastel Clouds


Down the Hill
Down the Hill


palette knife mt.
Mountain with knife


It’s always important to discover Why something went awry in order for me to be able to know how to avoid the problem next time. And, to resolve it now.


After a few quiet moments, it occurred to me that I’d just been rushing paints on willy nilly.

Without any pre thought.


That usually happens to me on day 1 after a long, dry spell of non painting.

Day 2  is much more calm and focused, with things flowing along smoothly. Generally I need 3 successive painting days to really pick up the slack and get the creative juices back on track. Even if its 2-3 hours each of those days, that works fine.


Most of the mistakes made were of tonal insufficiency, there was not enough light. This is one of the most common and typical issues across the board for most of us, especially when we try to rush & not plan.

By day 2,  I feel just a bit more balanced and am ready to Focus. Day 1 is more like running around kicking up my heels with lots of enthusiasm and no real objectives.



As for the 6 ways to salvage the paintings/experiments, I’ve listed them below:

  • crop the image
  • assess the image to determine if you see easily how to resolve it with a glaze or lifting out or softening an edge
  • assess the image to see what you can glean and learn from it
  • identify if it is in the Too Hard Basket …  at the moment
  • tear the paper into strips and use in a collage image
  • rinse partly off or  gesso lightly over the top of the painting


What I perceived straight away as a ruined mess I can the next day look upon and see how they have value in them.

Its nice to think that these are not epic art failures,  these paintings are just Not Yet Resolved !

Mountain with Knife has been resolved … see post Resolving Old Paintings



Published by debiriley

The act of creation, in any media is a fascinating and magical process. I simply love to create. Expressing in color, line, tone, texture - as if, they were words upon a page. Creating a uniquely me, interpretation. Enjoy More of my "one-of-a-kind" expressive art at and,

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