I took painting lessons from a crazy old hippie artist all through high school. I haven’t painted in years though. It’s probably because I focus too much on what I can’t do with my skills rather than what I can do. But there’s a new idea that might just want I need to get started again or to help you try painting while having fun with friends.
One of the things I loved the most in my art classes was what Mr. Phaneuf called Friday paintings. To save money on paints, we’d put plastic wrap on our acrylic paints. But on Fridays, we’d go crazy and use up all the paint on our palettes. It never lasted through the weekend and would be a glop of hard paint if we didn’t.
In those Friday moments, our “internal editors” shut off and it was pretty soothing to just smash the colors on whatever was handy.
I’m borrowing Steve Ewing’s terms here for that thing that holds so many of us back from creating. We’re so focused on perfection that we erase what we make to the point where it doesn’t exist anymore.
Last week, I spoke with Steve about his new book, Make Bad Art, and why us would-be artists get hung up on internal editors. We had a great discussion about abstract art versus still lifes and how to turn editors off. Steve and his co-author Robin Varni have found a way to turn off those editors and have fun with friends all at the same time. It’s called a Bad Art Party.
What is a Bad Art Party?
When you declare that all you’re going to make is bad art, you let go of certain expectations for success and perfection—those very same that hold you back from even trying. In the end, you might find that what you create is actually pretty dang good. So don’t let the name mislead you!
The idea is to get a group of friends together, choose a theme, and give each person a canvas and a bunch of art supplies. Set everything up and give folks some time at a canvas and then it’s time to switch! Everyone contributes to every canvas so you don’t really know what you’ll end up with when you’re done. It could be really terrible or really beautiful!
Steve said one thing when we discussed his book that’s been really sticking with me.
We get better by making mistakes and we shouldn’t be afraid of it.
Now that’s something to get you thinking, right?
How to Throw a Bad Art Party
I thought it was a pretty easy concept to grasp—and one to execute. But after speaking with Steve about the book and the Art Party process, it’s a bit more complex than it seems. So that’s why Steve got Robin on board with the project.
Robin is a trained artist and guided Steve through the aspects of the book most of us need a lot of help on too—like what kinds of supplies we’ll need. Art can get pretty complex when it comes to creating lasting quality paintings you can put up on your walls!
Inside the Bad Art Book, there’s great explanations on what you’ll need and what kinds of options to look for, as well as the lingo you can take to the art store with you so you get the right stuff.
There’s also all kinds of ideas inside the book for tasty menu items. No one wants to have a bunch of starving artists on their hands, after all.