Splash – the sound of failure

I recently found out about this Mermay challenge and was planning to try my hand at a mermaid tail collage… so when I saw the prompt for Splash last night I thought, “great! I’ll just combine the two!” In my head it was going to be this awesome collage of a mermaid tail diving into the ocean with a big splash! I was going to do her scales with all my scraps… it was going to be so cool… and then well, it wasn’t.

It didn’t start off a disaster, but with all the diferent ocean pieces it was too much so I scrapped the whole mermaid tail and just cut out the end bit. And then added the drops for water… and some more. And some more, hoping that more would fix it. (It didn’t.) The end result: Too many scraps, too much busyness, awkwardly undecided between being realistic or iconic… yeah I was not happy.

Not happy, but not beaten. I decided I should go all in on iconic. Ditch the mermaid. Ditch the ocean. Just focus out the splash. Yeah! It was going to be cool and modern and symbolic and abstract. Except that didn’t work either and I gave up quickly. That ended as a non-thing.

Feeling a bit bummed I got out of the house to go to the Handmade Fair where I spent waaaay too much not only on stationary, but also on like… bacon… and garlic jam… and two bags of coconut chips. (Why did I buy bacon? Was this to compensate for my splash interpretation disappointment??)

Annnnd there was a Disney animation exhibit in the same plaza so after I dropped all my cashmoneybills at the fair, I checked out the Disney exhibit too.

On the way home, stopped by Daiso and Artbox and picked up some more little things (still more mermay-splash trauma recovery??), including a 5 dollar pack of pastels for kids.

And instead of going to bed, I tested out the pastels… and found myself attempting the Splash prompt one more time, this time with no actual water splashing, just Daryl Hannah’s tail in the movie Splash. I coulda stopped there, with the tail. I SHOULDA stopped there. But my hand started coloring in an ocean. And then the sky. And then it didn’t make sense for this tail to just be sticking out randomly (and so straight and narrow–though to be fair it was a long piece of scrap drawing paper) so I nervously added some splash-like lines… and instantly regretted it.

And that is that. I hated the first collage, am irritated that I even made the second attempt, and am ambivalent about the third. But that is how we learn and improve–just gotta keep swimming.

Splash, you may have bested me today, but I’ll be back. You have not seen the last of me.


  1. I think youโ€™ve probably gained more from the works you arenโ€™t happy with (and Iโ€™m sure you know that too). The only real failures are the things that only exist in our heads.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This sounds only too familiar to me! ๐Ÿ˜‚ There’s that point of no return in any piece of art and when you pass it and simply add another layer, more clay or whatever it just gets worse and worse. ๐Ÿ˜„ Takes a lot of practice to recognize this point and even then it sometimes just happens anyway. But we learn more from our mistakes than when we do it right so just keep swimming! ๐Ÿ˜„

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one. I am learning the art of balancing patience/drafting with creative spontaneity, while also just learning how create aeshetically pleasing pieces in various media. Thank you for your encouragement!

      Liked by 1 person

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