happy accidents, taking advantage of

Before I visited the Shedd Aquarium last March, I didn't know that leafy seahorses (or sea dragons) even existed. Of course, since then, I have encountered them in several articles and TV shows. But they are fascinating to watch.

So when I hung the following transfer piece on the wall, I was predisposed to seeing the leafy seahorse in it:

I'll be the first to admit that he doesn't show up well. Yet. With some thread sketching, he will, maybe along with a fuzzier brother farther down the piece.

But doing this brings to mind a conundrum that keeps occupying my brain. Does taking advantage of happy accidents like this make me less of an artist? In other words, am I cheating? Or is it because of my art training and experience that I recognize such things and take advantage of them? I tend to think it's the latter--although I have been known to be so enthralled with a piece of fabric that I am afraid to do anything to it. One such piece hangs framed on my living room wall--I was unable to move on with it for fear of 'ruining' it.

I try to abide with the Doritos principle I expouse here occasionally (use it--I'll make more). But sometimes it's hard. I get a happy accident that I have no real way of repeating, and I'll be timid about using it. I need to work on that.

And sometimes I get good results by acting deliberately to cause those accidents, as here (sorry for the poor picture:

Here I was using up excess dye while playing with screen printing. I knew I was striving for a landscape here, but it came out better than I expected. Never disregard the things you paint casually--the artist within might be guiding your hand.

That is all.

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