Fail better

I’m learning to experiment, both in artwork and in life. In my painting, I’m using colours to change the mood and feel of an illustration. I’m combining ink types to see what effects I can obtain. I’m trying ideas without tracking my time during my ventures into the unknown. When we are young, we call this playing. I’m taking it back as an adult.

A partial quote from Samuel Beckett’s Worstward Ho gets tossed around these days. We’ve taken it to our own devices, which is a topic for someone else to tackle, but here it is:

… Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. ¹ ²

Forest scene outline: Sunrays through evergreen trees and blueberries. Tree stump with mushroom, flowers, tall grass. Birds and bee. ©2021 Outspoken Images by Marie Warner Preston
A forest scene, based on my backyard landscape in Norway ©2021 Outspoken Images by Marie Warner Preston

External forces are influential in my experimentation. I’m surrounded with endless natural beauty that changes colours and moods with the seasons. Much of my artwork is inspired by my own backyard wanderings in the woods and mountains around Folldal, Norway.

New communities are also welcoming and inspiring me. The outline image (above) was created for Colour Collective’s prompt Pink Flamingo. I didn’t complete that challenge, but I used the outlines to play with other colour prompts from them.

Watercolour painting of green trees, grasses, and blueberry plants. Red mushroom, brown tree stump, yellow sunrays. Black and white birds, bees, flowers. ©2021 Outspoken Images by Marie Warner Preston
Forest scene in Hansa yellow ©2021 Outspoken Images by Marie Warner Preston

I experimented and combined several media types for the Hansa yellow illustration (above)—printer ink, coloured pens, and watercolour paint on bamboo paper. I’m not sure what I think of the final result, but I did learn many things. Playing with a single colour as the driving force behind an illustration is fascinating to me, so don’t be surprised if you see this scene in a new light each week.

Work is intended to be joyful—let’s help each other bring it back. Positive feedback gives me courage to keep exploring and growing. If my art has made you smile, inspired you to get outside, or invited you to create your own artwork, please let me know!

Forest scene in Deep teal ©2021 Outspoken Images by Marie Warner Preston

I revisited my forest scene for this digital version focussing on the colour Deep teal. This was the direction I envisioned for my yellow painting.

This illustration is also prompted by @Clr_Collective on Twitter. The week’s colour is announced Saturday and artwork is posted the following Friday at 19.30 GMT. Use the hashtag #colour_collective if you want to join in or support talented artists!

¹Beckett’s full prose:
²Discourse on the prose:

Published by Outspoken Images by Marie Warner Preston

Creating illustrations for sustainability, stewardship, and science communication.

One thought on “Fail better

  1. Marie, I love how you are taking back “playing” as an adult! Such a great post. And, as always, beautiful art! I hadn’t seen your final version of this squid yet, and he is so cool!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: