I'm elbow deep in paint while I study an intensive three month art course. It's been an extraordinary journey to week 10 and I'm using all my creative time and energy on it. The most frustrating part is that there's no beautiful finished paintings to share. Let's talk about the ugly phases.
The course focusses heavily on technique and process which I love but there has been no "finishing", no "resolving" and definitely not much that's beautiful or pretty or Instagram gorgeous!
However, I do believe in sharing the ugly phases, the accidents, the oops moments and the learning curves. When I started out I really believed that great artists just created perfect art from scratch without a hitch. Which is of course a lie, a lie that the internet will happily encourage.
So here's some photos from my last 10 weeks. I barely even recognise myself in these while I'm experimenting, playing and practising. But I'm definitely learning something.
Your ugly art is someone else's beautiful art
Perhaps the most important lesson is that there is truly no right or wrong in art. Another artist might be really unhappy with what they've created while I find it exciting or peaceful. My ugly art is someone else's goal. Whether you work with paint or Powertex, on canvas or sculpture, there are always more adventures to be had with your art. There is always possibility.
These 12" square panels are from various stages of the course but I'm working on the same panels over and over again. At week 3 they look very different from Week 9.
Letting loose with colours I don’t use very often.
Adding collage and texture in week 9 was a lot of fun.
Learning about glazes and making a very dark painting that actually made me feel horrible looking at it!
This panel started with using only two colours plus black and white.
Building up the layers, the yellow glaze was horrible, the pink wasn’t much better.
It’s hard to believe this is the same panel but all the layers underneath make it so interesting.
Love all your adventures even if you don’t love the art
It’s not easy to share the ugly stuff or even just our art play because we think it isn’t valuable. We’ve been told it has to be beautiful and perfect and finished to be worthy of sharing or loving.
But it’s just not true. All our art, every stage, every accident, every ugly phase (and every painting has one), every time we make art is valuable. Every time we learn from a mistake is valuable. Every time we have a happy accident is valuable. Every time we turn up is valuable. Then we can choose to share our adventures or keeping it to ourselves is good too. But we should never feel it isn’t good enough. It all has something to teach us and it’s always full of possibility.
If there’s a part of your art you really can’t love, (nauseating yellow anyone?) learn that and keep going!