Saturday, April 04, 2009

A Mess to Behold!

I have been itching to create. But I have had many other things to attend to, including my doing my taxes and cleaning my closet. I already have too many messes. So I was hesitant tonight to create yet another mess. But images of cherry blossoms, deep green leaves, and henna-dyed paper lanterns were calling! I cut out images, leaving piles of paper debris all over the floor (too bad my cats don't eat paper!).

And when my art piece just wasn't coming together, I decided to make the arting messy (see picture to the right: purple fingers!). I smeared paint and layered images and bleeding tissue paper (sounds rather nasty, doesn't it?) and added traces of metallic pen. I decided not to stop when I thought I was done. This time, I told myself to take the piece further. Even if I didn't like it, I wanted to take it past the end point (or the "safe" point I tend to rely on).

Do you ever find yourself "playing it safe" with your art, not wanting to risk making a piece ugly? I have discovered a great technique for ceasing to worrying about making a piece ugly: try to make it ugly! Push it to the edge. When I let go of the feeling that my art must "look right" or "be pretty," I actually produce some interesting work. And something shifts inside me; it's like I've created a little opening for creative growth. So if you're feeling stuck, make it ugly! Go ahead, ruin it! I bet you'll create some fascinating work.

Behold, mixed media collage, 8.5" x 11"


  1. It's gorgeous Court! And thanks for sharing the mess; it makes me feel a bit better about my own mess. ;-)

  2. And lo,from the mess arose there - Art!

  3. I am intrigued by this idea of trying to make it ugly. I will definitely explore this going on past the "safe" end...or is it "off the deep end?" Blessings. cj

  4. As soon as I can get back in the studio next week, I will aim for ugly and unsafe.

    Your piece is most decidedly attractive, though.

  5. You are braver than I, Courtney! But you were so right not to play it safe here. Sadly, though, it's not ugly; it's gorgeous, vivid and full of life and merriment. All I can say is you must get a lot more from cleaning closets and doing taxes than I do. (actually, I have to admit I don't do my taxes; my husband in a CPA, but I DO clean closets).

  6. Whelona,
    Thanks! And enjoy your messes!

    Yes, it was like the art was a skunk cabbage bursting through the mud!

    Carol Jo,
    I'm anxious to find out how it goes when you play with "making it ugly."

    Let me know how the "ugly and unsafe" process goes!

    Thank you! Oh, to have an CPA partner! Lucky you!