A little while back, artist Leslie Miller wrote an intriguing post which she titled, "Seeking My Authentic Voice." She wrote that: Voice isn’t style, voice isn’t principals and elements of design, voice isn’t content, but the language we use to express our authentic voice includes all of these. Authentic voice is something more elementary than this, it’s something closer to primal, closer to the earth, and it is uniquely yours.
A series of comments followed her post and carried the conversation in a variety of different directions. So many that, Miller chose to write another post based on the comments.
I always noticed an awkward, clumsy mark or move that kept showing up in my work and Ifelt that if I could just get rid of that my work would be so much better. No matter what I tried though, that clunky thing kept popping up again and again! It took me years until it finally dawned on me that that odd goofy thing was actually me! Everything else was just me putting on other people's clothes. Now I try to embrace who and what I am although it's still so easy to forget and to fall into emulating the flavor of the month.
His comment dug in deep.
I've been asking myself, what are my awkward marks? Lines that look like they've been turned inside out? The way in which drawing a circle, I stop just short of closing it? How about those dreadfully muddy maroons that reoccur over and over in my palette?
Could it be true that those odd goofy things are actually me?
Might it also be true that, within the awkward lines and idiosyncratic fingerprints we leave in our work, dwells a source of our greatest strength as artists?
If it is true that those awkward marks make us who we are--how can we maximize their contribution within our work?
I don't have answers to these questions, so I'm asking you:
What "mistakes" persist in your work that could serve as a source of discovery?