Yesterday I was watching a Brian Cox programme about the discovery of treatments for diseases; catching up on things recorded last summer! Brian Cox was describing how these days our investment in research is focused only on the cure or solution to the problem, ie discarding any negative results as irrelevant. The unfortunate problem with this is that scientists and researchers are not being given free rein to discover things by accident when inadvertent discoveries can also lead to the creation of useful results.
The permanent dye for the colour mauve was accidentally discovered by a scientist (William Henry Perkin) who was trying to create a synthetic quinine which is a cure for malaria. He made his future wealth out of producing this dye particularly after Queen Victoria wore a silk gown dyed with his creation mauveine. He failed in his original task, yet this discovery was deemed to be a success!
Essentially, both successes and also the detailed records of failures can be of great use to other research in the future.
The same could be applied to artistic endeavours couldn’t they?
I do divide my failures into those which are possibly useful to refer to in the future and rubbish definitely to be binned! It just would not be possible for me to store everything especially since switching from painting to printmaking. Photos of work in progress and experimentation can make it easier to store information, or even just notes.
I hung onto this trio of tom cats below which was created simply to test a printmaking texture. It was useful yesterday in convincing me to use a particular texture for some mountains on a new piece I am working on at the moment.