Recently I signed up to Melissa Dinwiddie’s  five-day mini-course, Creative Sandbox 101, which I thoroughly recommend. Not only is Melissa a delight but the course is great for ideas about what to try next and to loosen up any fixed thinking you may have about what art is and what it means to be an artist.

Being a bit of a rebel the Day 2, 15 minute challenge was right up my street:

Make a “bad” picture
Grab crayons, pens, or whatever’s at hand, and make the worst, ugliest picture you can imagine. Use colors you normally avoid, and just see what it feels like to draw “badly.”

So . . . here’s my bad picture!

bad painting

I choose to work on paper because I don’t like doing so and hunted around for colours I don’t like. I picked out browns and a pale orange. I blobbed them onto the paper and then took a brayer to them. At this point it was definitely bad in my opinion. Most definitely, yuk. I was doing well.

Next, I looked around my desk and picked out some blues and magenta that were mixed with fluid medium and dripped them onto the top of the page. I let them run down, sprayed on some water and dragged a credit card across the runs. Then I added some white and repeated.

Then it all went horribly wrong. I ended up with something I could no longer call bad. In fact I actually quite liked it!

It was a simple mistake. I lost sight of the goal and added colours that I like – the blues and magenta – which was further compounded by the fact that they complimented the colours I’d already used. Easily done I suppose, when you lose focus.

So, the moral of the story is, if you want to ensure you paint a truly bad painting, stick to colours you can’t abide and make sure they clash nastily.

Or . . . you could take the easy route and just wait until you’re stuck in a load of negative thinking/your mood is low. That way you can pretty much guarantee that whatever you paint, it won’t be good enough and you won’t like it. Simples!