After starting on the new art book, The Artist’s Journey (by Nancy Hillis, M.D.), I did one of her exercises. There are some exercises in the book worth trying, in my opinion, and others...not so much.
A goal every year is to delve into my art practice again and try to find new gems - and sometimes books written by others about the art journey or process helps lead me.
Anyway, one thing she wrote about is defining what “ugly” means to us and why. I came up with greens. What I think are ugly greens. This is just my opinion. Someone else may love all greens.
I pulled out a bunch of green pigments and began putting down color, trying to vary the shapes and values as I moved along. This is about a fourth sheet watercolor paper. I didn’t have much faith that it would turn out to be anything but using greens.
And yet...I don’t totally hate it. It does have some interest (not sure why the top painting looks so much lighter but I did darken some areas in the second version and add some more marks).
What do you think? Want to try to paint an ugly painting and see where it takes you?
The book has some useful information, but if you’ve read a lot of art books, there is nothing really new in here - just a reminder to put the miles on your brush and other tried-and-true “rules” of working. I did like the instruction to paint a lot of starts = so they are less precious and you can return to them later to work more and make more of them, if you choose. Painting starts (unfinished, not even half-way-there paintings) gives you a bit more freedom to play and not get too caught up in what to do next. But her suggestion that you paint 5-20 starts each day seems a bit much even if they are just small thumbnail sketches.
At 123 pages and $20 for the book, I’d say it might be worth it. I’m about half-way through right now and going slowly. When you purchase the book, you get access to 4 free, short videos (I’ve watched them twice now just to get the most out of them). They are about process and composition in her own painting (acrylic on canvas or large paper), and they are in short bites.
Did you get any art books for the holidays?