Wondering what to do when you don’t like your art or you feel like you’ve made a mistake? Have fun with the mantra “Oops, Now what?” This mantra covers the o and the n in the ABCs of art journaling. I was traveling home from Colorado yesterday and am a day behind in my posts so I looked for a creative way to combine two letters, lucky find and not an oops? I hope so.

When I started thinking about O and oops, I thought of all the students I’ve had who get to the point in the process that I call “the messy middle.” It’s the stage where the page may look ugly, confused, blah or any other of a hundred negative adjectives that our Inner Critic can dream up. I have learned to love this stage of the process.

The pages in the image above are at the messy middle stage. I started them at my recent Wild Creative Abundance retreat and have been letting them sit, unsure where to go next.

You could also experience an occurrence where you spill paint or have a pen explode all over a page, both have happened to many times. Don’t panic, get playful.

Three Magic Words: Oops, Now What?

As I look at a page, really look, taking time to let my gaze wander from edge to edge, I get curious about what I do like, what I don’t like and look for ideas as to what to try next. Or if I experienced an accidental spill of paint or ink, I get playful and look at the shapes. Like a Rorschach inkblot test, I find images and figures that can become a central part of the page.

What I love best about art journaling and painting is that everything is paint-overable. Art journaling is about building up the layers to create something you are happy with. Don’t get stuck in the messy middle!

Use my mantra “Oops, now what?” or create one of your own that will help you keep painting. Like Dory the fish, just keep swimming (or in this case painting.)