A Challenge in Creativity

A challenge was set before me some weeks ago. Why not take an old painting and make it something new?

As a poor college student, I’d painted many times over my own canvases. But this was a new idea entirely: incorporating someone else’s art into a new vision. I didn’t care much for the idea, at first. But then I saw them: crates of unwanted paintings. The larger ones at five dollars apiece, the smaller for three dollars each. Still lifes, landscapes, a few portraits. Created for what purpose, I couldn’t imagine. Nor could I imagine how so many of them could have been accumulated in one place. Not precious to anyone, and not particularly spectacular. In fact, what most would consider bad art.


Finally willing to accept the challenge: I selected two paintings. The first, a large portrait. A blonde woman with a photo-realistic face that seems out of place in the rest of the painting. She’s seated in a large chair painted with unintentional and odd perspective. Feeling a bit bolder, I selected the second piece. Something quite awful and challenging: it’s a clown standing with a paintbrush in hand, painting a clown face, perhaps on a wall. But if it is a wall, there is very little indication. He could very well be painting the disembodied head in the air.


I can’t imagine yet what I’ll do with them. But I’m excited about it. Perhaps I’ll only be capable of making matters worse. My own thoughts and readings the past week have been on being willing to create bad art. They can’t all be masterpieces. Striving for perfection can only lead to disappointment. So, I’ll let it go. The important part of the creative process is creation, not outcome. This exercise will give me a new perspective. I’ll have to step further away from my own artistic and creative sensibilities.