Life By The Seat Of My Pants

Mixed MEdieology Monday 5/13/13 – It is OK To Make Crap Art

Posted on: May 14, 2013

Have you ever been working on an art piece and it suddenly takes a turn you were not expecting? A turn for the worse??? That’s what happened to me with this week’s Mixed MEdieology Monday project. I had one vision in my head when I started working on the piece and about half way through it started spiraling out of control, down a black hole.

When I first began this project, I knew I wanted to turn one of the ‘prettier’ male paper dolls into a girl with long hair in a big poofy dress. In the end I accomplished that, but she doesn’t look anything like I had hoped and I am not happy with the end result.

I am really happy with the background and the little bird in her hand and I even like the little kitten. I am not so happy with the big poofy dress and long, flowing hair ;P

2013-05-13 11.54.57

When I glued the book pages down, I didn’t realize that the paper doll legs were going to PROTRUDE so much. I should have stopped right there and cut them off, but I figured I would be able to camouflage them with the paint. I was wrong. LOL!  I’m not sure if you can tell it from the pictures, but you can CLEARLY see the outline of the legs and feet of the original doll. I continued to paint the dress and it just got worse and worse with every layer. I actually edited out SEVERAL steps of the dress evolution. If I hadn’t this video would have been MUCH longer and I don’t think you would want to sit through that 🙂   I also got her hair too big and uneven and it looks like a mop just sitting on top of her head.  I’m still not sure how I managed to do that, but by the time I realized it, it was too late to fix it.

2013-05-13 11.55.39

I normally don’t talk about all of the screw-ups that happen while I am working on these projects because I am usually very happy with how my pieces turn out. I can usually turn it around in the end and ‘fix’ anything I ‘mess up’ along the way. This time, however…. not so much. I decided to tell you about what I DON’T like because I want you to know that even after all this time, I still make crap art. I still make things I am unhappy with and I still screw up some of these projects beyond ‘repair.’  I am telling you this because I want you to know it is OK  to make crap art on occasion. Let me repeat that… IT. IS. OK.

It is ok to make pieces that you are unhappy with or just plain out DON’T LIKE! That doesn’t make you a ‘bad’ artists. It doesn’t even make you any LESS of an artist. It just means you made a piece that you don’t really like. And that’s ok!

It is ok because …….

1) Art is subjective. Just because YOU don’t particularly like it, doesn’t mean NO ONE will like it. (And besides, who cares if no one likes it!)

2) You are probably on the verge of a breakthrough and need to push past the bonds that have been holding you in place.  Let me elaborate on each of these.

Art is subjective – Last year I made a crazy looking little monster thing for one of my groups. I HATED that damn monster! I thought it was the WORST piece of crap I had ever made! I thought for SURE no one else would like it and I was embarrassed to even show a photo of it.  I wanted to get rid of it, so I put it on my vendor table at the only craft fair I have ever participated in. That ugly little scraggly monster was the FIRST thing that sold that day! I could not believe it! And the lady that bought it…. absolutely LOVED it. She even asked me how she could mount it on her refrigerator!!! To this day I still think it is the worst piece of crap I have EVER made, but that doesn’t matter because it was EXACTLY what another person had been searching for.

You are probably on the verge of a break though – My creative journey has been a roller coaster and I think most of you can probably relate to this.  I go though phases  where I am really liking most of what I create. I feel confident and inspired and I am usually very satisfied with the finished product. This is the ‘going up’ part of the ride.  This is the easy part. Then I get to the point where I feel like I have lost my muse. I don’t really WANT to make any art and when I do make something, I feel like it is ok, but not my best work. That is the ‘sitting on the top of the hill,rocking back and forth, waiting for the drop’ part of the ride. And then… it happens… Nothing I make turns out right, I feel like I have forgotten every skill I know and I make a BUNCH of CRAP art. That is the ‘plummeting uncontrollably face first to disaster’ part of the ride.

*THAT* is the very reason I DO NOT ride roller coasters in real life. I HATE that feeling. I don’t like not being in control! I don’t like that feeling of falling to my death with nothing to stop me but a metal bar and shoulder pads!!!!

But what happens at the end of EVERY one of those drops???? There is a huge curve and you are thrust back up into the sky, with the wind in your hair and the sun on your face.  The rest of the ride is a thrill, filled with ups and downs, but in the end you have a huge smile on your face. (Well, not me, obviously, but so I’ve bee told by people who enjoy that sort of thing.)

Did I lose you back there???? Are you still with me?

I know that was long winded, but what I am trying to say is this – In my experience, when I hit one of those drops, I am usually going through some sort of artistic transformation and growth. My style is usually changing and evolving and I feel like I am struggling to keep it the same. I am a creature of habit. I don’t like change and so I like to keep things the same. I don’t want my art to change because I am confident and comfortable with how it *IS,* so instead of letting go and letting my art evolve as it will, I resist, pull back and fight it every step of the way. And in doing so… I create a ton of (in my opinion) CRAP art along the way.

It isn’t until I *finally* let go and let my MUSE take control that I get past the crap and move on to the next phase in my artistic journey.


I know I babbled on and on today, but I hope it helped you to see that it is ok to make art that you don’t like.  If art brings you joy, then you must create… even through the rough patches, because those rough patches are what bring you to greatness.

~If there is no struggle, there is no progress.Frederick Douglass ~

I hope you enjoy my process, long and unsuccessful as it may be, but more importantly, I hope you take to heart what I have said. Relax. Play. Just enjoy the process. Let the muse guide you and you will never go wrong ❤

I will be back on Thursday with this week’s Thrift Shop Thursday haul.

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Big Hugs,



1 Response to "Mixed MEdieology Monday 5/13/13 – It is OK To Make Crap Art"

Perhaps that prince of a paper doll just didn’t want to wear a dress – lol! THANK YOU for being SO brave and writing this post. It is INCREDIBLY INSPIRATIONAL when talented artists such as you are courageous enough to admit that sometimes they think their stuff is crap. Those of us that are struggling to find our own art appreciate that we are not alone!!

I would love to hear what you have to say. Leave me a comment :)

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