Today I was dancing with the devil trying to reach perfection. I was also trying to lead, and you can't make the devil do something he doesn't want to do. Things didn't work out so well! I love the combination of wax and paper, and I love the look of ripped paper. I also adore lots of color. I crammed all of this into this piece, and it just didn't work. I think I can save it, just not today. I know why it's not working; there's not enough contrast. It's dark, dark, and more dark. I need light colors in there to break up all the darkness, and I'm just not sure yet how I am going to do that.
I'm reading a book on creativity by Nancy Hillis, M.D. it's called The Artist's Journey. Nancy talks about ugly paintings and the need to let them happen. She says, "By giving yourself permission to make 'ugly' paintings, you're acknowledging how vital these exploratory works are to your development as an artist." By realizing this is true, I was able to stop the dance for perfection and allow this piece to happen and know that I was learning. I was learning the need to remember about contrast, and to remember that sometimes less is more.
I am sharing this "ugly" painting with you because it's important to know that everyone makes hideous paintings at some point. Both of my parents were accomplished painters. After they died, I was going through their work and found some awful paintings. I felt terrible about being thrilled to see that they also made some ugly pictures, but it was an excellent reminder that I need to take it easy on myself, and remember that "ugly" paintings are a precursor to artistic growth. If you are hesitant to create, for fear of making a mess, or things not coming out as you planned, cut yourself some slack, tell fear to take a hike and know that whatever happens, you will be learning.
In Gratitude, Karen