Golden drips

CRX0041 square

I wasn’t sure whether I was going to post this. But I set up this blog with the intention of using it to record all the cards I made — initially as a reference for myself — and while the card making has expanded into mixed media and other arts and crafts, there is still the underlying feeling that everything should be here. Even the stuff that doesn’t turn out quite right.

And this definitely didn’t turn out right. It was, to be blunt, a failure. But that’s okay. Not everything is perfect, in fact, in art, it’s hard to say that anything is perfect. I usually aim for “good enough”. And that’s not being self-deprecating, I absolutely love some of the stuff I make, but even then there’s usually something I would have done differently.

And there are benefits to showing off the things that don’t fit my initial vision of them.

For a start, I get to think about what went “wrong”. In this case, I got distracted by ideas that only served to make it more complicated and less organic. My initial aim was to create a large but natural-looking golden drip balanced by a pair of smaller drips on a plain black background. And then I started thinking. I thought I could make the drips more dimensional by forming them out of clay. I thought that I should make the drip line more dimensional to match the drip. I thought that modelling wire would do the job nicely. Then I had the idea to give the drips a clear centre (I had just got some plastic cabochons and was obviously looking for an opportunity to use them). I also thought the matt black would be a good idea when something with a bit of shine would probably have worked better.

And I also get to show that I’m not perfect. I know when I started making cards, I would see all those perfect creations with amazing colouring and there were moments when all that stopped being inspirational and instead started to look like an unachievable goal that wasn’t worth aiming for because that apparent skill level was so far away from where I was then.

Not everything works how I want it to. There are times when I have all the elements for a card and struggle to make them work together. I occasionally fumble Copic markers; most of the time I get away with it and don’t drop them on my work, but sometimes I do and I admit it and show that mistakes can be fixed or worked around. Sometimes I’m not happy with something, then I’ll leave it a day or two and realise what it needs to fix it.

But I haven’t managed to rescue this yet. I haven’t completely given up hope on it, it will be put away and maybe one day I’ll be inspired and find a way to turn it into something that I actually like. I can still take some positives away from it: I got some more practice in handling the paperclay and in creating a wonderful mess of splatter. And at least I have an understanding of why it went wrong.

CRX0041 detail


  • Prep & Stick:
    black gesso
    Stuart Semple – coat
  • Colour:
    Stuart Semple – black 2.0
    Stuart Semple – gold
  • Paper & Fabric:
    That’s Crafty white/greyboard
  • Miscellaneous:
    Finnabair melange
    Fimo basic air dry clay
    modelling wire

CRX0041 display

GESSO: Primed Creatives – Failure. What work or challenges have you failed at or turned into a disaster? What happened and what did you learn?

5 thoughts on “Golden drips”

  1. You call this a failure????? I think this is awesome! I love the contrast of the gold and black. It reminds me of some old time Christmas ornaments/lights. I’m sure you will come up with something! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s not a “chuck it in the bin” failure, but I did fail to create the thing that I set out to make. I’m used to designs changing as I work on them, but this is so different to what I originally had in mind that it’s almost a different project. I shall put it on one side until I either decide I like it for what it is or I come up with a way to “fix” it… and your comment about Christmas ornaments has sparked the start of an idea…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I actually love that you’re willing to show all your work, whether you think they went well or not. I find this piece quite striking in many ways (the clear center of the drips was an unexpected surprise and I just love the shine of that gold agains the black), but can appreciate that it isn’t what you wanted. I think sharing “failures” is such a good exercise because not only does it help you self-reflect on what went wrong, as you did, but it’s gives you a chance to see how you’ve grown the next time you go to do it and assures others that just because they mess up once or twice doesn’t mean their work is destined to always fail.

    I also just wanted to say that I am the same on the “good enough” thing. I think every illustration I make has SO much room for improvement, but I’ve realised that spending all this time just trying to fix every little detail often sucks out my love for the process of creating so it’s better for me to just do what I can to grow with each piece but also give myself permission to be just “good enough”. It’s comforting to know I’m not alone in regards to that.

    (Lastly, can I just say I’m inspired every time I visit your blog by the fact that you’re always doing so many different creative activities? It makes me want to try to do something other than illustrating my little cartoons every once in a while. I love it!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I sometimes think I should try to focus on one medium or style, but it’s way too much fun just playing with all the accumulated stash 🙂 I’m just glad other people find it interesting too!

      I am naturally introspective so I tend to over-analyse everything I do anyway and, although it can be a bit daunting putting the “failures” out there, I have found it actually helps because it makes me form coherent thoughts that I can write down rather than letting the vague “I’ve messed up” feelings swirl around my brain… And if it reassures even one other person that everything doesn’t have to be “perfect” then that’s wonderful too.


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