Beauty By Mistake

Any artist seeks in some way to create something beautiful.

This needn’t necessarily be beautiful in the most conventional of terms, or even something that has been created before – I believe each of us seek to be original, to find and speak in our own voice too.

Think of anything beautiful – a person, a landscape, a flower, a poem, a piece of music – and part of it being beautiful is how strongly it effects us, how striking it is initially, and how it lingers in our memories long after it’s gone.

Beauty is unforgettable, and that’s something else most artists strive to be.

We want to create work that not only takes our audience’s breath away, but stays with them long after they leave, long after we leave.

image: Michael Foley

It means our work is deep, lasting, memorable, that we have touched someone’s life in a profound way.

So all these potent qualities of beauty mean it becomes an additional pressure for us to create.

No-one wants to create stuff that’s ok, average, not bad, mediocre.

We want what we create to be amazing, as beautiful as it can be, every last pencil mark, brush stroke, frame and note.

Sometimes though, beauty doesn’t come the way we expect or hope it will.

We can try and try to force it, to follow some set predefined instructions on how to create beautiful art, but there are no guarantees it’ll turn out as we wish. In fact, most of the time it doesn’t.

But as long as we keep striving, sometimes we will create art that will take our own breath away, before it even reaches anyone else in the world. It surprises us, and arrives when we least expect it.

This kind of beauty then, is almost beauty by mistake.

It comes when we’re brave enough to experiment, to push the boundaries of our own creativity, to question the limits of our chosen media. When we create with abandon, with freedom, with a sense of playing and exploring, we will inevitably stumble across a few happy accidents.

We will uncover that beauty by mistake, that’s been lying there within us, waiting to be found, for years, we’ve just not been looking in the right places.

How can you create more freely, more playfully, more enjoyable, without worrying about the outcome, being perfect, sticking to the way things “should” be created?

A suggestion.

Choose something new, and start small. Just doodling in a notebook, or playing around with a drum pattern, or mixing different colours. Forget about the end “product”. Just explore your media, explore your ideas, explore yourself.

There’s an infinite amount of beauty in you, just waiting to be unveiled, If you keep trying, keep creating, you’ll unearth it, maybe even by mistake.

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