Imagine finding inspiration from a soft, overripe, melting Camembert cheese. This is what happened to Salvador Dali, whose inspired moment lead to one of his most famous paintings, The Persistence of Memory. In this painting, hard pocket watches are found unexpectedly limp like melted cheese, and draped in a bizarre dreamlike, coastal landscape. This strange juxtaposition of objects is typical of Surrealism, a 20th century artistic and literary movement which sought to combine the world of dream and fantasy with reality.
Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dali i Domènech was born on May 11, 1904, in the small town of Figueres, Catalonia, Spain. He was an extremely versatile and talented artist, exploring different styles and media as a painter, sculptor, draughtsman, illustrator, writer and film maker. Dali is probably best remembered for his striking and unusual images in his Surrealist work, as well as his flamboyant personal style, and quite possibly the most famous waxed moustache in the world. Feliç aniversari Dali! Let’s celebrate his birthday by making some melted looking creations of our own.
Maybe Magritte just couldn’t get the nose right and gave up. In the world of arts and crafts, mistakes will happen. Some will be beyond repair and require moving on (sniff, sniff), like incorrect folds in your origami paper. Learn from your error, grab another sheet and start again. Other mistakes can be fixed with problem solving and patience. And sometimes you can build on your mistakes, which can lead to wonderful, unexpected outcomes. A willingness to explore and make mistakes can also teach you a tremendous amount about art supplies and materials; about the best ways to use them and unexpected ways of applying and combining them.
When making things with children, they can easily become frustrated if their creation does not meet their expectations. And rightly so. We all know the disappointment of something not working out as planned. Opening their minds up to other possibilities will help teary-eyed and demoralized little artists to look beyond their initial plan, and see that there are alternatives to destroying their work and stomping away. Mistakes can be happy ones. Accidental drips and blobs of paint can give rise to new creatures or intriguing abstracts and backgrounds. That “perfect” outline that didn’t quite happen can be transformed with varying thicknesses, adding more interest and movement. Unintended colours can be welcomed to stretch the imagination, or simply painted over and changed. Reassure children that even great artists made mistakes and chose to learn from them and work with them, or simply start over.
Finally, my apologies to Magritte, whose Son of Man is a fine example of Surrealist art. I’m sure he had no difficulty painting noses.
“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”
“Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature. Never try to correct them. On the contrary: rationalize them, understand them thoroughly. After that, it will be possible for you to sublimate them.” Salvador Dali
“It is better to be high-spirited even though one makes more mistakes, than to be narrow-minded and all too prudent.” Vincent Van Gogh