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Finding Freedom in an Ugly Canvas

Finding the freedom when my art sucks...stinks...is absolutely no good by Carolyn DubeFreedom. I love the feeling of freedom…it is after all so freeing! So how do I get that freedom? I create stuff that stinks. Stuff that is absolutely no good. And that it is how I find freedom.

Finding the freedom when my art sucks...stinks...is absolutely no good by Carolyn Dube

I started with this canvas I stenciled and spray inked eons ago with Rembrandt’s Words. It has been sitting the studio unloved for a very long time because I had an idea for it and then abandoned the idea.

The plan had been abandoned. Zero inspiration at all here.

 

Finding the freedom when my art sucks...stinks...is absolutely no good by Carolyn DubeThat means I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. So I grabbed some paint and drew randomly on the canvas. Totally fun but is this a masterpiece? Not one bit. But total joy to squirt paint and watch it drip.

 

Now to bring in the color. This is one hot mess. What matter most to me is that I had paint on my fingers and I was feeling the freedom smearing the paint ever so randomly. No thinking, just doing.

Finding the freedom when my art sucks...stinks...is absolutely no good by Carolyn Dube

I could have taken this all very seriously. And years ago, I most definitely did take this very seriously.

Coincidentally, that is when it was less enjoyable to create.

I could have listened to that critical voice in my head pointing out how I have absolutely no direction for this painting. I could have lived in terror that this canvas will always and forever be a hot mess of artful shame. I could have but I didn’t.

Finding the freedom when my art sucks...stinks...is absolutely no good by Carolyn Dube

I was feeling a bit rebellious towards that voice, after all I just wanted to have some fun. Yes…I am hearing Cyndi Lauper in my head…

That’s why I make art. For the fun and the freedom! So, I grabbed some india ink and started drawing the shapes that popped out to me like these 2 birds.

I’ll give you a little hint…this part of the canvas, before I drew the birds will be the next Spark of Art-spiration to go in my newsletter for you to download and draw your own shapes over. If you’re not already on the newsletter- jump in and get signed up! There’s a downloadable video and pdf waiting for you too!

Finding the freedom when my art sucks...stinks...is absolutely no good by Carolyn Dube

Then the dinosaurs? Well, that was what was popping out at me…and the duck in a lab coat with a neck problem and no arms/wings…

Finding the freedom when my art sucks...stinks...is absolutely no good by Carolyn Dube

At this point my inner critic had a total melt down. Full on temper tantrum in my head…and what did I do…I laughed at that voice. And randomly splattered more color on it!

At this point my inner critic had a total melt down.

The tall bird captured how the inner critic felt, just in shock as the paint went flying. Which only encouraged me…

At this point my inner critic had a total melt down.

Here’s where the freedom really came in to play because that voice was worn out and was barely a whisper.

This is just paint and a canvas. A canvas I had let languish so there is nothing risked. Plus, nothing is permanent on a canvas because I can paint over it. That’s the freedom. So the dinosaurs…well…they disappeared. I’m not painting Jurassic Park…although it does look like the blue dino is a bit perturbed by my decision.

At this point my inner critic had a total melt down.

Then I stenciled the word that just belonged on this canvas using my Vintage Typewriter Stencils and black paint…freedom.

Finding the freedom when my art sucks...stinks...is absolutely no good by Carolyn Dube

Here’s the finished canvas. Is it worthy of the Louve? Is it my finest canvas that I ever made? Who cares about the answer to those types of questions. What I really care about is did I have fun making it? YES! Do I remember that feeling of freedom when I look at it? YES! Those are the questions that matter most to me! When you create what questions matter the most to you?

Finding the freedom when my art sucks...stinks...is absolutely no good by Carolyn Dube
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  • Julia Smith May 12, 2016, 10:02 pm

    Thank you so much Carolyn, for continuing to share your art process. I am so blessed by your have fun and play attitude. You have encouraged me and inspired me in my art journey. Thank you.

  • Frances Watts May 13, 2016, 7:21 am

    Awww, Dr Duck disappeared! But I can completely see why you had such fun doing this canvas, because I had fun reading the blog!

  • zsuzsa karoly-smith May 13, 2016, 7:48 am

    I’m so getting what you are saying, Carolyn! Sometimes my (self-imposed) need to create something amazing, ruins the whole experience for me! I end up feeling stressed, frustrated and disappointed. Where’s the fun in that? We should all find our inner child and create with abandon!

  • Kathy Gledsdale May 13, 2016, 8:36 am

    How lovely and this is such good timing for me! Thank you, I am worrying so much about my canvas and spoiling it, I am forgetting to have fun! So thank you lovely lady xx

  • Corrine May 13, 2016, 9:55 am

    I so agree with Zsuzsa on this too. Trying too hard is almost worse than not trying at all. Love your re-do. xox

  • toni May 13, 2016, 11:08 am

    I love your process. it’s my hope that one day I’ll be able to let go and simply have fun.

  • Leslie May 13, 2016, 11:55 am

    FABULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jean Marmo May 13, 2016, 5:08 pm

    I love how you are able to do this!

  • Monica Lowrance May 13, 2016, 5:17 pm

    questions that come up for me…. am I doing it right, will it be rejected, what if no one likes it, why am I doing this, where will I put the darn thing, but the question that matters the most is … do I like it? Thanks for sharing your daring art. I sure liked the animals.

  • Denise Neely May 13, 2016, 5:51 pm

    I love the way you look at things. It’s so inspirational to me. Thank you for helping me to be free.

  • Katy May 13, 2016, 8:06 pm

    Carolyn I really enjoyed the way you wrote about your experience–fearless and with humor! I love your masterpiece!

  • Vicki Romaine May 14, 2016, 1:14 am

    I love your finished canvass. I have got to learn how to keep the “fear” fellow from bugging me when I get out my paints. You definitely have him locked away. I will keep working on it. Maybe one day…….

  • Cynde May 14, 2016, 7:47 am

    Lovely. Thank you for sharing so generously!

  • loeyp May 14, 2016, 11:38 am

    Oh Carolyn….I thought “ugly” was just “oops” spelled differently!! šŸ™‚

    • Carolyn Dube May 14, 2016, 11:47 am

      Indeed it is! I didn’t even have to say Oops and you knew exactly what it was Loeyp!

  • Scrapmate May 15, 2016, 5:05 am

    I love this it has come together beautifully.

  • Sue Clarke May 16, 2016, 6:24 am

    Thank you for this post. I know that I create only for myself and yet I still feel the need to “get it right”. My best art is when I let go (which isn’t often).

  • Lisa May 16, 2016, 8:14 am

    I love this whimsy, fun piece!

  • Pepper May 16, 2016, 9:20 am

    I like it! I may not be able to understand it and perhaps I’m not supposed too because it’s what in your head. Why does art have to have a meaning? You are right, it doesn’t who cares.

    I’m very new to all this and I’m still in that oh, it has to be perfect stage. Which is hilarious in itself and I have to laugh. I’ve been entering challenges and everyone work is awesome. Heck, my stuff looks like a 3rd grader did it LOL. But I keep plugging along learning as I go.

    When I look at your picture I see is gorgeous, vibrant and beautiful colors and it make me happy. I believe I’m going to get out my watercolor paper and put on all my homemade stamps I’ve been making and paint all the things I’ve been learning to draw on it and have a blast. It will be some really random weird stuff and possibly look like Picassoish but it’s all right. Now that is Freedom.

    I do have a question is all that color other than the background India ink or is there some acrylic paint mixed in too?

  • Becky P. May 16, 2016, 10:51 am

    Love the freedom you have to create without worry. I’m working on it. I’ve come a long way. Still have a wee bit to go, but I’m definitely getting there. My biggest problem is I try to overthink what I’m doing. I just need to find the abandon and let go. Not everyone’s style is the same, and I’m afraid my work isn’t “good enough” or that the recipient won’t like it. But I’m starting to let that go, too. If they don’t like it, it’s their problem. šŸ™‚

  • Susan Silver May 18, 2016, 1:47 pm

    Just found your blog, watched one of your videos, and loved it! I’ve been feeling pretty “blocked” lately, and think that your Just Play approach will “unlock” me.

  • Marna McLendon May 18, 2016, 4:40 pm

    I love that you help make us fearless. AND that we can easily see the products you used – and order!

  • Julia Mitchel May 19, 2016, 3:39 pm

    Carolyn, have been getting your newsletter and spark for quite a while. And I do like them and print them for my ATC’s,. This one however, and its just my opinion, is too colorful, the colors seem to always be the same. Bright and too many colors pull the eye everywhere. This one above called Freedom looks like a painters drop cloth, and I don’t mean to be rude, its your art but its way to busy for me. I guess I am more simple, vintage, toned down, I would love to see less color and more simplicity in the sparks. The messy look is not for me. Sorry.

  • Rebekah May 19, 2016, 7:16 pm

    What a great inspiration! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Cody June 1, 2016, 8:54 am

    I love this post. Not only did you show the freedom you felt when you created but how the inner voiced talked to you through the whole thing. So neat to read. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. =)

  • tushar November 12, 2019, 1:33 am

    all drawing is wonderful