Failure Friday: Evolution

I love seeing the journey of a piece of art. From idea, to draft, to final work, pieces of art evolve. It feels so good when a work reaches a “resting” place–that spot where a work has grown into something decent, but it is not yet perfect. In this state a work invites both artist and viewer into conversations around material, technique, and themes. I love that place.

Yesterday I reached that place with my print. It has changed a lot since my initial idea. Originally I wanted a 3′ x 2′ embossing of a Tall Grass Prairie ecosystem, overlayed with a print of a grass lawn.

I carved the embossing plate and printed a few. I also made a linocut print for my lawn and experimented with colour and pressure. But I wasn’t quite happy.

On Tuesday I approached my professor for her thoughts on maybe adding a third layer. Just her look in response to my question told me I needed to parse it all down to the essential elements.

I am glad I did. I cut the embossing down to a 3rd it’s original size. I also completely redesigned the grass from something natural, chaotic, and random, to something rational, measured, and austere.

This is exactly the change that needed to happen. I am ready to present this work at critique and see how other people respond.


  1. I love reading such posts. What you said is very true, watching art evolve is a very satisfying process. Months ago, me and my friend did the interiors of a bicycle shop; few of my photos and a giant 72×72-inch abstract painting of a bicycle by my friend. The 72×72 was done on nine 24×24 canvas boards, three in a row. I was with him from the time he started painting. It was really amazing seeing blobs of paint and random brush strokes transform into the final picture.


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