Stitch Journal 2017: Day 87
I think I've stitched as many of the found and broken stitch markers as I'm going to - for the moment. Filling the negative spaces between them comes next, and I've been mulling over what colors and stitches to use. I may do a small test piece before leaping in.

I've also definitely decided to stitch another piece with the broken bark as a subject. It's probably too harsh of me to call the first one a complete failure, but it just doesn't live up to the vision I had for it. And, I'm not sure I still feel strongly about my original vision of the piece of bark in flames, rising up or being "lifted up." I picture something quite different in my mind's eye now, based on the bark being broken into two pieces. So I'm going to start again, and in the coming weeks I'll work on both that plus the stitch marker piece, alternating between them.

Anyway, I wanted to ask you about creative failures! Would you be willing to share a little about a failure of one of your own projects - how you decided it was a failure, how you felt about that, what the failure led to next (or didn't)? Did you ultimately experience a good outcome from what initially seemed like a failed piece?

In the early 1990s when I was living in Chicago, I had the good fortune to see Victor Erice's film El sol del membrillo (translated as Dream of Light, or The Quince Tree Sun). It's a documentary about the Spanish painter Antonio Lopez Garcia and his efforts to paint a quince tree in his courtyard. The film follows the progress of the painting throughout the fall. Garcia keeps painting as the weather changes and the fruit grows heavier, trying to capture the fall light in the tree. He's often joined as he paints by an old art school friend and they reminisce about a professor whose comment on their work was invariably, "Make it fuller!"

Anyway, after lots of work, day after day, Garcia gives up on the painting. He's dissatisfied with it - though to me, it was absolutely beautiful. The scene where he carries it down to his basement made me sad. He saw it as a failure - but I didn't see how or why. In the short time of the film I had grown very attached to that painting! He starts again, this time making a charcoal drawing - which is also fascinating to watch - and as I recall, he was happier with the drawing. But all the time he works, he is very conscious of time passing, of the fruit and the leaves changing, of how he has a limited time to capture the tree before winter.

Seeing the film, I thought we artists can be very hard on our art. And yet - don't we have to be? We can't be satisfied with everything, how boring that would be. I am paraphrasing here - but the painter Agnes Martin once said, "dissatisfaction is the natural state of mind of the artist."

Well, if you've read this far, I would love to hear your thoughts about dealing with failure - or shall we say, perceived failure? - of a creative piece or project.

Have a good Sunday. May you "make it fuller" today!