Category Archives: Art

Willing to Make Bad Art

Someone who practices diligently, is consistently applying herself, and sticks with things long enough to get good, really good, at it.  This is not a description of me.  Yet.

It would be exceedingly ridiculous to complain about being the type of person for whom many things came easily.  But I’m finding, as I endeavor to learn things that I am not naturally good at, there is a downside to that history.  I never learned any stick-with-it-ness.  Here I am, 55 years old, and still haven’t learned good study habits.  Making good grades in school came easily for me.  Excelling in sports came easily for me.  I only practiced the various sports I participated in as much as I did because it was fun.  It certainly wasn’t because of my stellar discipline.

Creating art, up to a certain level, came easily.  Photography, up to a certain level, came easily.  Progressing beyond “advanced beginner”, however, apparently does not come easily for me.  The problem is, though, that I am now no longer satisfied with being an advanced beginner, or even sorta skilled.  I want to be good at it.  Really good at it.  But [heavy sigh] I am still a novice.  The real bummer part is that the only reason I am still a novice is because I have not been willing to put in the time and the effort to do the work of getting good, particularly when I deemed the product I was creating as sorta crappy.

I heard an impactful quote about achieving creative excellence:  “You have to be willing to make bad art.”WillingtoMakeBadArtSmallwish I knew who to credit, but I do not.  I have not, thus far, been willing to make bad art.  I had great intentions, envisioned something beautiful, gave it a try, and when the thing did not turn out anywhere near my vision – as it so seldom does – I weenied out and walked away.  I gave up and moved on to the next thing.  I justified it, of course, by telling myself things like, “Well, that must not be my thing.  That obviously wasn’t my passion,” or other B.S. things that made it okay for me to give up.

There’s a problem, though.  I just really don’t want to give up and move on this time.  I really like making art.  I’m stuck between not loving my current ability to create and being unwilling to give up.

So – and this is a little scary — I guess I will just have to learn discipline, and develop the willingness to make bad art.  I’ve heard it said that it takes 10,000 hours before you get really, really good at something.  100 down, 9,900 to go.

It helps to have a clear understanding of the creative process.  I need to understand that Steps 3 and 4 (below) have great potential to derail my process – and commitment.  But since I now know this, and know that Steps 5 and 6 will make up for Steps 3 and 4, then I can muster the necessary motivation to stick with it.  I just didn’t fully realize that making crappy art was just part of the deal.  Really great artists have made their share of such art.  They just didn’t necessarily publish it.  I have not been able to find the original author to give credit, but here it is:

The Creative Process:

  1. This is awesome.
  2. This is tricky.
  3. This is sh*t.
  4. I am sh*t.
  5. This might be ok.
  6. This is awesome.

Since I now understand this crazy process a wee bit better, and get it that I must make art and lots of it, I am now more motivated and well-equipped to continue the journey of 10,000 hours.  I feel as though I have been picked up, brushed off and set back on my creative path.  I just hope I can remember this as I create my next crappy piece of art.  Hopefully, I will also make some brilliant pieces of art along the way and some mediocre ones, too.

Good thing you can just paint over most of them and keep going…

Affirmations and Magical Phrases


Magical phrase:  “Wouldn’t it be great if _____________”


I learned this magical phrase from my very first life coach.  I was really having a struggle with life, pretty much all aspects of my life at the time.  This is an elegantly simple process that she offered to me to help me shift my attention, and therefore my energy, to a better-feeling place.  This always creates better-feeling results.  It has worked incredibly well for me and I have used it many times to easily shift my energy to a more positive, pleasurable, productive place.


It is incredibly mind-blowing to experience the power and speed of this process.  It’s just a matter of remembering to do it.  And doing it, of course.  The reason it works so well is because it shifts your attention to what you do want and away from what you do not want, but it does it in a soft, gentle way that does not cause resistance.


This might remind you of another popular process:  affirmations.  Some people swear by them and adamantly insist that affirmations are the best thing since sliced bread.  It is true that affirmations work great for some people, but it’s just as true that they don’t work worth a flip for other people.  My theory for the apparent disparity in results is that there is a flawed premise.  Many, if not most, people believe that the power of affirmations is in the words themselves.  But the real power is the resulting feelings, because that is the indicator that your current thoughts are in alignment with your true self, you larger self, your inner being.


Affirmations are only helpful if they inspire you to a better-feeling emotional state.  Many people grit their teeth and keep saying them, purposely disregarding the fact that the affirmations are actually making them feel worse.  The worse feeling typically comes because the particular affirmation is not believable, it is out of reach for where a person is emotionally in this moment.  It would be better to completely toss affirmations out the window if they do not make you feel better, because using them is causing your energy to shift in a negative direction.  Affirmations are highly effective if you design them so that they help shift your energy in a positive direction, as evidenced by better feelings:  even if only a little better.


The phrase, “wouldn’t it be nice if ________” is so powerful because it facilitates getting your attention on what you really want without it being too much of a stretch to believe.  Therefore, it is a wonderful tool to help fine tune skill in shifting focus, but without the negative side effects of trying to convince yourself of something that you just really can’t believe.



Brute force is one approach.  Put your head down, muscle through, teeth gritted, grinding and clawing for results in whatever the endeavor happens to be.  Sometimes it gets results.  Sometimes.  Never mind that it leaves you in a sweaty, exhausted heap, sort of twitching when you think about the next phase of the project.

Or you can relax.  Letting go of the need for tight control, and going with the flow.  Just waiting for the inspiration and confident knowledge as to the best next action and then flowing and going.  Oh, yeah.  Flowin’ and goin’…

Love Never Fails

It’s true. Love never fails. It’s just that sometimes some people get a little confused about what love is.

I loved playing in my shed studio with paper, paint, stamps and ink to make this small multimedia piece. I don’t think I am at all confused about that.