I Did a REALLY Ugly Painting Today!


Nancy Hillis would be proud of me. I created an enormously ugly painting today and IT WAS SO FUN!! Boy was I on a roll! First I started off and it looked pretty nice, then I kept “futzing” with it. Finally I just let loose and flew into a foaming at the mouth painting frenzy, keeping in mind all the virtues of painting “the Ugly Painting” which she stipulates so articulately in her new book: “The Artist’s Journey.”

The more I painted, the uglier it got. Finally I was just making moves in the paint completely removed from any preconceived notions.

Nancy Hillis would be proud. Why don’t you tell me the story of your ugliest painting? Maybe you have made one uglier than mine and would like to tell me about it!

Quotes from Nancy about the “ugly” painting.:

She says “Ugly” paintings threaten you because they’re unfamiliar and unruly, and emerge unbidden without your consent. They subvert your need for control.”


“Your “ugly” paintings are vitally important. In fact, these paintings are probably more important by several orders of magnitude than the work you like and value.”


“The cost of dismissing your rejected, “ugly” paintings is you risk missing discovering something until now invisible in you trying to become visible.”


“Just as the chrysalis is the nascent form of the butterfly, the “ugly” painting is the raw essence of new, experimental work.”

“Cultivating an attitude of experimentation is one of the most important and potent things you
can do to develop and evolve your art,” says Nancy Hillis.

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