Finding Things to Love in Your Ugly Art

Ugly art. Maybe you recoil at the phrase? Maybe it scares you.

The truth is we ALL make ugly art.

Whether we’ve been painting for 50 years or 1 week. It happens, even with experience. There isn’t one person on the planet that has tried to make art and hasn’t made ugly art.

Ok! Now that we know it’s normal. Let’s talk about what our ugly art gives to us. It’s a great giver!

Every time you make a piece you don’t like you learn a ton.

Especially on what not to do. You learn what mistakes you shouldn’t make again. You learn not to overdo it. Maybe these two colors clash too much. Or there is too much for the eye to focus on. Or maybe it looks like a little kid did it and you have no talent. Hey! No mean talk! You tell that inner critic voice (which we all have) to be quiet and keep creating. Don’t fall for the lies.

It doesn’t matter what your art looks like, study it. Just see where you can improve. Analyze. If we looked at art as more of a science, things start to make sense and ugly art becomes our best teacher.

What about finding things you love? Just look closer and you’ll find something! Whether the colors look good together, or you used a specific technique somewhere that you want to recreate, or just one tiny part of the composition looks right. Maybe you can scan it in and crop it and act like this was the art piece the whole time? Bob Ross has a famous quote for this, he called them ‘Happy Accidents!’

Think of yourself as if you’re sifting for gold.

Sure there’s a lot of sand and maybe fool’s gold, but real gold too. Even if it’s just one nugget. There is always something in your ugly pieces you can learn from, good and bad. Look for the things that you love that can inspire you and the things that you messed up on to learn from.

My advice to improve quickly and learn a ton is to experiment a lot. More experimentation does mean more ugly art. But it also means play, joy, and finding YOUR STYLE! The holy grail every artist is searching for!

So, don’t be afraid of making ugly art.

Think of it as research. You might make something ugly but then try again and oops, ugly again. Learn from it. Ok, the third time’s the charm, and it is! You can grow from every piece you make. So don’t be afraid. Just create.

I hope this pep talk helps you to go out there and continue creating! You are an artist already if you consistently create. Not consistently create masterpieces. But even if you don’t consistently create, you are an artist if you are an artist in your heart. Just remember that getting skill takes time. Have fun on the journey and grow with joy!