The Magic of Mistakes

11/14/2011 05:30 pm ET | Updated Jan 14, 2012

So this is how I did it...

To get the accuracy in the pier sketch below, the correct perspective and spacing and such, I used my projector as a light box and traced the photo. Is this cheating?

Kind of.

But it is also a contemporary tilt that affects the way the final image looks. Photography in painting creates very different images from non-photographic, or drawn images.

There are great, memorable and important paintings made with the use of the camera. The whole Pop Art Photorealism movement of the 1960's was based on this premise.

At New Blood Art there a bunch of paintings like that, which owe a debt to photographs. Like this one by Tina Gibbard or the work by KT

or more famously, Ralph Goings or Richard Estes from the pop art movement.

A few days after tracing the pier from a photograph and painting the projected image onto the canvas, I was struck by the composition of my studio. I sketched it with the drawing board perched on my knee.

In my mind I was tracing the outlines of the various objects on the table. It was like my mind had been trained to copy outlines from all the previous tracing. It is ironic that the studio sketch above shows the projector as it was really drawn from life.

Inevitably, one makes mistakes when freehand drawing. For example, the scale of the paint brushes in the foreground got a little too large to fit into the space on the paper where the foreground is supposed to go. It is the skill of the drawer to adjust the image to accommodate for those mistakes.

I contend that it is those mistakes that make an artwork uniquely human. It is the mistakes in the image that makes the magic: that over exaggerated curve in the painting of a woman's neck that really speaks out to us about her state of mind.

The mistakes make the rhyme of creative bent. The drawer's inaccuracies take the visage away from just image and turns into a signpost for your heart; that turns the image away from the original source and into Art.

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