Making Art You Hate

blue abstract gold leaf painting


Making Art You Hate

Ok, Ok, the word “hate” is more for dramatic effect.

Recently, I made a 20×20 abstract on a wood canvas that originally showed some potential. Then I went too far. Then I painted over it and started again. And then I took it too far again. And then I painted over it. And started again. See where I’m going?
After the third do-over on the same wood canvas, I just went with it since there was so much texture built up, I certainly couldn’t do a fourth round.
The end result is the art I “hate”. It isn’t hate. Its more accurately cringe-inducing. And since we all know art is rather subjective, I can’t say it is bad. Someone else may love it. And that is the conflict. How can I accept something I dislike and accept another might love it? And more importantly, do I toss it out? Or do I leave it in a corner collecting dust as a relic of bad decisions?


blue gold abstract painting

I am what they call a minimalist I suppose. I like things neat and orderly and streamlined. I like painting in that manner as well. I cannot just throw color theory out the window or flop things on too thick, or use more than a certain number of colors. It’s messy and uncomfortable and makes me sweat. This too-busy painting with too much going on is like walking into the dusty house of the beloved hoarder aunt who hasn’t discarded anything since 1965. I am wincing at someone else’s treasure.

gold leafing on painting

I look at the busy-ness and cringe. I flinch. I squint. And yet…….keep looking. It’s much like my reaction to maximalist decor. I love looking at photos of maximalsm on design sites. All those loved trinkets and treasures look so fun! How awesome to be a collector and own it. However, the idea of living in it makes me itch. When new people enter my home, most of them ask: “where’s your stuff? Did you just move?”. They ask, pointedly, while looking at my living room that has never had furniture in it. Just houseplants.
Nope. This is my stuff. Minimal items. Minimal pallete. Needless to say, I’ve had to let go of some of my neurotic minimalsm once we went and had five children. I admit, letting loose and being less regimented as a mother is a challenge for me.
And perhaps that is why I need to keep the ruined painting I hate. It’s messy, busy, reality-soaked disorder, is something I need to accept a little more of in all facets of my life. Perhaps if I embrace more chaos and disorder, I can reach a new level of……..something.

Related  Do Your Older Artworks Invoke Memories?

If you create something you almost can’t stand, do you keep or discard?



See also:

Do Your Older Artworks Invoke Memories?

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