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Earlier this evening, I set out to do something I had never done before:  to deliberately create Bad Art.

A fellow artist from my local artists group invited the other members to meet at her friend’s house for Bad Art Night.

This event takes place twice a month.  Each meeting lasts approximately three hours.

The goal of Bad Art Night is simple:  to create Bad Art.

Why?  Because we can.  Because it’s great to be able to create art without being attached to the outcome.  Because it gives us permission to explore new media, new techniques, and to get it wrong.  To screw it up.  To be silly and spontaneous and let whatever happens happen.

How cool is that?

For someone who’s VERY attached to the outcome, Bad Art therapy is just what the doctor ordered.

Warning:  it’s harder than it sounds.  And at the same time, ridiculously easy once you let go.

It was clear to me that I couldn’t use a camera.  Oh, sure, I can take a bad picture.  I’ve taken thousands.  I believe that it’s only by taking thousands of bad pictures that you learn to take better ones.  But a camera was too familiar, too comfortable….

I decided to try a medium I’ve never used before:  watercolor.  I know nothing about painting in general, let alone painting with watercolors.  The result was guaranteed to be Bad.

I held the brush in my hand and stared at the perfect white piece of paper in front of me.  I knew that as soon as the brush touched the paper, it would no longer be perfect.  That was the goal.

I dipped the brush in some water and randomly selected a color:  light blue.  I put the brush on the paper.  I ruined it.  I felt happy.

I added more colors:  dark blue, purple, teal.  I swooshed them around, and overlapped them, and added more water, and then more paint, and then more water.

I was pretty sure I was doing it wrong.  And I didn’t care.

Eventually I covered the entire sheet of paper with watercolors.  I was done.  I had created my first piece of deliberately Bad Art.  What next?  Make another one.

For my encore, I drew with pastels on the wrong kind of paper.  It was very glossy, and the pastel colors didn’t blend softly into each other.  It looked like the drawings I made in kindergarten, which the teacher criticized.  It was Bad.  I added some more colors and made it worse.  Woohoo!

I had time for a third drawing.  That was felt tip markers on paper.  I drew flowers all over the paper.  There were flowers growing upside-down from the top of the paper.  There were flowers growing sideways, and vines trailing among them in a serpentine pattern.  All the flowers were two-dimensional, garishly-colored, and very Bad.

Like all good things, Bad Art Night had to come to an end.

So when I got home, in keeping with the theme of the evening, I took a Bad image of my first Bad Art piece to share with you.  Not the kind of thing I would normally do, mind you.  But there’s my Bad image of my Bad Art piece at the top of this post, for the whole world to see.  Go ahead, laugh.  I’m laughing too.  Because it’s Bad.  Really Bad.

Tomorrow I’ll go back to trying to take good photographs.  And I like to think succeeding most of the time.

But for one night, it was good to be Bad.

See http://www.badartnight.org for the back story on how Bad Art Night came to be.

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