Bad Art Can Be Charming

I dislike being new at anything. It makes me feel uncertain and lost and frustrated, none of which are my favorite feelings. Yet despite this, I’ve taken up both the art of painting with pastels and the ukelele. I’m confident I’ll figure out the ukelele—it’s just learning notes and practicing. But art…? Most of the time I feel uncertain and lost and frustrated. Will my art every stop looking amateurish?

British guy Phil Heckels has taught me that’s the wrong question to ask. After he drew the family dog during the pandemic to amuse his kids and posted the drawing online, he became an overnight sensation. Hundreds have commissioned him to draw their pets. His drawings are so bad that you can’t help but be charmed by them. (And even better, by charging he has raised huge amounts of money for the homeless in his area.)

Phil Heckels art
art © Hercule Van Wolfwinkle

Perhaps the point is not to make perfect art, but just to make it. And to do that, we must all start at the same place: as beginners. So, as a beginner, here is a painting I did of a sheep. Not sure why this sheep is blue.

Blue Sheep by Catherine Friend
art copyright © Catherine Friend

5 thoughts on “Bad Art Can Be Charming”

  1. Love the sheep! Love your newsletters! Having read your memoirs, loved them and ‘The Perfect Nest’, adored it, can’t wait for the next book! Keep on plucking your ukeleles and painting, I look forward to all you write about. Take care.

  2. Be sure to keep your Blue Sheep. I think it shows talent. (Seriously.) Back when I was into oils, I kept everything I did, but only allowed what I thought was “good” to see the light of day. A year or so ago, I found the stash of the ugly-buglies. It was fun to see them and remember my early efforts. Never did get very good, but I have a feeling you will.

    • Thanks for the support! The temptation with pastels, however, is to take the ‘ugly-bugglies’ outside and brush off all the pastel so you can use the paper again. 🙂


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The Big Pivot

About Me

After twenty-five years on the farm, I’m adjusting to the adventures of city life. Part of that adjustment is figuring out what I want to write about now, since sheep are no longer part of my daily life. I’m challenging myself creatively by painting with pastels and playing the ukelele as I seek my new writing path.

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