Spilled Paint Improves Creativity

We had a paint calamity of epic proportions. I’m talking spilled paint all over the place. If you think crying over spilled milk is a thing you’ve never witnessed an artist crying over spilled paint. It’s serious and painful. Paint is like liquid gold to us. It’s our life blood.

Spilled Paint Improves Creativity

The hour in the studio started like any other. Tiny-Small was standing on a stool painting on my large easel. She had a paint palette next to her on the counter where I had squeezed the perfect amount of brown, blue, and red paint for her to use. I was two feet away painting on my own canvas. Tiny-Small was talking away like she usually does. She has a lot to say!

At some point I must have gotten very focused on what I was doing because she stopped talking and the next thing I heard was running water. I looked up to see her dangling off the counter with her hands in the running water as she washed her paint brushes in our big metal sink. I quickly went to her side and pushed the stool under her so she could stand up again. I was worried she would fall. That’s when I noticed the paint palette she was using was overflowing with paint. She must have squeezed out half a tube of pink , green, blue, purple, and yellow. I was not happy. I scolded her for wasting my paint. As I was contemplating what to do with it she continued to wash her hands and brushes. She promised not to do it again.

Spilled Paint Improves Creativity
Paint stamping.

I picked up some card stock and set it on top of the paint thinking I could sort of stamp up the excess and use it for mixed media art-making sometime in the future. Right in the middle of doing that, Tiny-Small knocked an entire pickle jar of water over on the counter. It ran over the paint palette and then down the front of the counter. Paint was going everywhere. It was flowing across the counters and all over the floor. I started panicking and running around looking for rags and paper towels and newspaper. Anything to stop the flow of water.

As I was mopping up the floor, Tiny-Small bumped into the easel and the painting she was working on fell off the easel, bounced off the top of her head and the landed face down on the floor.

She’d just managed to glob paint in her hair and stamp my floor in one swift move. This is acrylic paint. Once it dries it’s pretty hard to remove and it dries quickly. Too quickly! I was sort of stunned. What required my attention most? The floor? Her hair? The water?

I wiped her hair off as much as I could, while using my foot to push the newspaper toward the water on the floor in the hopes of absorbing some of it quickly. I eyed the face-down painting on my Linoleum floor with trepidation. I reached down and peeled it off the floor. Tiny-Small looked at her painting and told me very seriously, “Be careful with my painting, Mom.” I set it aside to dry. I mopped up the excess water. I rubbed the paint off the floor.

Spilled Paint Improves Creativity
Mopping up paint with tissue paper.

Then I grabbed white tissue paper and started smoothing it over the quickly drying paint on the palette.. I got some pretty nice impressions. I hung the tissue up to dry. I wiped off the front of my cabinets. I wiped off her hair some more and decided the best thing to do was get her in the shower as quickly as possible.

What a day!

A few days later I went to look at the paper I had soaked the paint up with and started using it in a painting I had an idea for. I wanted to make a garden scene. The paper seemed like it might work well.

This is what I have so far.

Spilled Paint Improves Creativity
Mixed Media Garden Background.

I felt like I had survived a visit from The Cat In The Hat, but I couldn’t stay mad. Even spilled paint improves creativity. I might let Tiny-Small hang out in my studio more often¬† just to see what happens next. That kid is an expert at making a mess. She’s helping me solve all sorts of problems and keeping me on my toes.

I’m still going to put my paint tubes out of reach. I mean, it is practically liquid gold. I can’t afford to paint the floors, cabinets, and a little girls hair too often.


14 thoughts on “Spilled Paint Improves Creativity”

    1. That’s exactly the kind of stuff they say when you are in labor, “I know it hurts so bad you want to kill people, but at least you’ll have a pretty baby at the end.”

      Thank goodness for pretty things at the end of all the hard things, right?

  1. You seemed to keep your calm much better than I would have! The painting is beautiful – I would have never guessed it started as a mess clean up.

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