Weird, Ugly Paintings


“Any honest will tell you that possibility is far more frightening than impossibility, that freedom is more terrifying than any prison.”

Julia Cameron

There are three of us. We’re in NYC, San Diego, and East Hampton and we’re studying and recovering our creativity. We are working through our own blocks in a self discovery, self motivated course in creativity.

While I will own up to the fact that I haven’t been as diligent as I could be (I’m a sucker for late summer nights), I am still learning, growing, and dislodging some nasty blocks.

In art (and in life, I’m finding), our past has a way of freezing us up. We think:

This is the way it’s been, so this is the way it always will be.

I’ve never learned to play the violin as kid, so I never will learn.

I’ve never painted. It’s too late to start.

I have never had any luck or success. Tomorrow will be the same.

I always screw up relationships. This one is no different.

We allow our past to create our future. We give it permission to continue because we don’t choose to act any differently. We let what has already happen in our life dictate what will happen tomorrow.


I did not grow up painting. I mean, yes I had water colors and finger paints, but legit painting? Never did it. But I always admired it. I have been marveling at Monet’s paintings since I was seven. The first time I went to the Met in NYC, I stood there staring and wondering how he did it. Even now, when I’m there I get lost thinking about how he did it...and how I could never do it.

One day this winter, I decided I was tired of wondering how he did. I wanted to try. I walked 2 miles to a craft store and bought myself some paints, an easel and brushes. I remembering setting it all up in my little apartment and thinking, “Now what?!”

I didn’t have a clue!  I just started. I played and painted and it didn’t look good. An hour later, I put it all in a box under my bed. Almost once a week, I would get the box out and play the part of a painter. I would put the box back under my bed after a million mistakes and weird results.

After seven months of playing, making mistakes, and making weird, ugly paintings--I finally, finally have created something that I like.  Yeah... I really do like it. And instead of putting it in a box under my bed, I actually showed it to someone.

I had a big, messy past of not being a painter. I made a choice to not let that dictate my future. In the same way, I continued to not let my fresh new past of being a terrible painter get in the way of creating and trying and working to make something new and better.

All those weird, ugly creations were just stepping stones to get me to my real work. The type of thing I think is kinda neat, and kinda beautiful, and I kinda like it.

I love my weird, ugly paintings now because they opened me up to continue moving forward. Sitting with them, making the mistakes, playing, trying new ideas---all these things pushed me to that moment. That beautiful moment on a quiet summer night, where I sat daydreaming--brush in hand, paint in hair, music in the air, and something real on canvas-- and was finally interrupted by the thought, “Wait a second... I think I’m a painter now.”

What things, situations, non-actions are dictating your future? How will you own what you really want for yourself? And how will you take responsibility for your own desires, dreams, and loves for your future?

Your future lies in your actions today. Go make lots of weird, ugly paintings--in all areas of your precious life.

All my love,