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What Happens When I Fail?

What do I do when I feel like I failed in my art journal? Well, first I go through all sorts of crazy thoughts...

Is creating always easy for me?  Does it always go well?  Do I always feel happy about what I create?  Is it always easy to say Oops?  Heavens NO!  Here is what happened in my art journal on a particularly challenging day.  Nothing serious or anything, just one of those days when everyday stress collided with getting up on the wrong side of the bed.  And boy, did it show in my art play.

What do I do when I feel like I failed in my art journal? Well, first I go through all sorts of crazy thoughts...

This art journal page felt like a failure many layers ago.  It was colors that just didn’t work with images that just didn’t work in layers that just didn’t work.  I didn’t even take photos.  I didn’t want to take photos…thanks to an angsty inner teenager having a big pout about the whole thing but really, these are just layers of Oopsies.  Oh the drama in my head.

I just couldn’t seem to say OOPS.  I felt so frustrated it clouded my thinking.  And lives were hanging in the balance because of this art journal page.  This paper and paint was apparently the last piece of paper in the world and I was ruining it.   What did I do?  I gave myself a time out just to make myself  stop and get off the crazy train in my head.   I took a deep breath, okay,  it was twenty five of them.  I was then ready to accept that these failures were a gift.  Mistakes are always gifts.  They are just Oopsies and this is just paper.

With a clearer head I realized a big part of the problem was that these weren’t my usual colors.  Now that was probably obvious to you, but to me it wasn’t because of that crazy train in my head.  There was a definite brown vibe happening.  I needed some color.  I grabbed some gesso and covered up most of the mess. I added a subtle yellow layer with Eddy Rose.  Then I brought in a brighter color with the blue thanks to some spray inks on the appropriately titled stencil, Just Breathe.  The title was done using oil pastels through my Vintage typewriter stencil.  How did I do that?  You can see the technique in a video here.

What do I do when I feel like I failed in my art journal? Well, first I go through all sorts of crazy thoughts...

Then I noticed a scrap of book text on my table. Shall I try again?  Yes!  This incredibly small scrap was a reminder from the muse to pause (and take a deep breath) when things aren’t going well so that I can remember it is all just an Oops.  And keep adding more layers until I like it because this is play and not a world peace summit.


Here are the supplies I used. Some of these links are affiliate links which means I get a small percentage. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and you are helping me keep this blog and my videos ad free! Thank you- I don’t like ads any more than you do!

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  • Jen Stevens November 22, 2015, 3:56 pm

    Live it!! And love that you shared how a page you don’t like can be made likeable!! Is that brown I see?? Heehee…seriously love it! You inspire!

  • Jean Marmo November 22, 2015, 4:48 pm

    Very inspiring!

  • SusanJane November 23, 2015, 8:09 am

    The portrait is basically sleeping, not really your imagery at all. I wonder what would happen if you tried again and (gasp!) tried sleep colors?

  • Corrine November 23, 2015, 10:34 am

    Works for me every time. Walk away, do something else, come back later. Eat cake – uh no – think about eating cake ha ha. xox

  • Ewa November 28, 2015, 8:34 pm

    Hi. Im trying to sign up for the free video on how to mix colors on the gelli plate but i get no email. Can you please help me? Best wishes

    • Carolyn Dube December 5, 2015, 1:27 pm

      Hi Ewa, if you’re using gmail or another email provider that has filters/tabs it might be in a tab such as promotions or in the spam folder. Sadly, sometimes things get lost in the all the servers…like socks in the dryer. If you don’t see it anywhere in your tabs/filters, you can have it sent to you again by signing up for it again. If this doesn’t fix it for you, let me know.