Saturday, January 24, 2015


Every once in a while I get hold of a book or an interview where the author or person is saying EXACTLY what, either I have been saying over the years, or would love to say.

The Art of Mistakes, by Melanie Rothschild has written one of these.

Here is a link to an interview with the author Melanie Rothschild with her Editor. 

While doing some banking business the other day I chatted with a young man who told me that he has absolutely no artistic talent. He majored in the sciences and remembers very little from early education art classes except that he never seemed to do well in them.

In her introduction, Melanie tells a story about a mother that came up to her at a show and asked her if she could recommend a teacher and some art classes for her young daughter.

Apparently, the child had taken an art class only to have the teacher begin with telling her that her drawing of a pink frog was not acceptable.

The child had a vision of what she wanted to do but was confused as to why she had to change it to the teacher's expectations.

As Melanie says in her Introduction to the book, "the chilling part for  me wasn't really about this little girl; she was lucky to have a mother with enough clarity of thought to see the potential damage that lay ahead and to take pains to redirect her child from this "spiritually toxic" situation."

Boy, I like that term, "spiritually toxic".  It says it all in my mind. 

Melanie further points out that although there is a lot to be learned from taking art classes, some wonderful SKILLS that artists will need down the road. The main thing that is "right in the center of the artist's essential tool kit is one tool that is easily forgotten in the dedication to attain perfection: becoming adept with the ecstasy of creating unruliness and understanding the profundity of that knack."

She describes this as "the sweet spot- the intersection of art, imagination, new ideas and progress."

Oh, it's so very true.

I would love to carry around with me a bag of art supplies and be able to make time stand still as I challenged the "I can't do art" sayers, to sit with me for a bit and create some art.

I would love to see the expressions on their faces change as they relax into the process, begin to lose focus of their environment and become one with their endeavor. 

I'm sure the judgement devil would land on their shoulders when we were finished to pass the final word on their creation. It seems to be internalized into a belief system that has shut down their creativity for years and possibly their entire life.

I also know that with time and encouragement and the right environment this could be changed. And, what a surprise for that individual when they discover that being creative doesn't just mean they can draw but that they can problem solve, they can create a change and maybe they can experience a moment or two of pure bliss and joy.

Melanie has written a great art inspiration book. You won't find this a step-by-step method but rather a "how to guide for creative thinking".  

If you have a friend or family member that feels they missed the creativity bus or train this might be a great book for them. Just don't hand it over and walk away.  Bring your crayons and markers and roll of sketch paper and sit down with them. Have some fun with them rediscovering their "child" within.  Leave the crayons, markers, paper and book with them and then send them healing thoughts that they will once again remember that they too can draw pink frogs and they will be beautiful.



  1. It sounds like a wonderful book. I think there are many of us that have had to break through the words that we were told as young ones to reclaim our creativity.

    1. I believe that there is a time for learning a skill set for creating art but there is also so much time that should be left to relearning how to play. I'm so glad that those who had to reclaim their creativity managed to do so. For all the other out there, encourage them, support them and give them a box of crayons. :)

  2. Hello Bea,

    You made my day! I worked on writing the Art of Mistakes for over a decade. Initially, it was going to be called, An Art Class Can Be A Dangerous Place - I was inspired to write it after my first night of taking a "real" painting class after I'd already been making my living as a self-taught artist for many years and was told I was doing things all wrong. The idea that people get derailed from following their "artistic burn" felt like a profound injustice and from that night, I felt driven to write this book. Knowing that readers are finding and connecting with my words means the world to me. Thank you, Melanie

  3. Hi Melanie,
    Thank you for stopping by. I have to admit the first thing that drew me to the book was the beautiful cover with what appeared to be acrylic paint skins dangling. As I paged through it, saw the quotes, read bit and pieces to myself I thought, oh this is just the right book for so many people. I an encouraging people to buy this as a gift for anybody that has uttered those sad words, "I can't draw, I can't do art."
    Once they let their soul out to play and create I doubt they will ever look back.
    Thanks for taking the time to write this inspirational book for everyone. :)Bea