Worst Studio Messhap?


Well-known member
What's the worst mess or misshap you've ever had happen in your studio, at an event or plein aire? I'll start:

Today I dropped an almost-full jar of powdered graphite on the floor (carpeted of course). Omg what nightmare to (attempt to) clean...
I have more examples, I just wanted to get the thread started...
I was in a china painting class and had painted a beautiful plate with blackberries on it. Everyone was raving about it. Between firings you sand the paint to make it very smooth. When sanding it (in front of the entire class, I might add) I dropped it and it shattered into hundreds of pieces. :rolleyes:
I was finishing a painting for someone and realised that the signature looked wrong, messy, and so I painted over it. I left it to dry with the intention of having another go at it later. For some reason when I looked at it again I must have got confused because when I stepped back to admire my handiwork I realized I had signed it upside down.
A drop!? A drop?!😳🤔 I could probably paint a couple of paintings... big paintings... with all the paint I've spilled. There are two major and rather recent disasters that I can think of.


I often have my paintings hung close together. In my old studio, the painting I would be working on would hang in the space surrounded by all the paint on the wall... maybe 9" away from a finished painting on either side. There was one incident in which I had a large cup of water for cleaning the acrylic off my brushes sitting on the top of my workbench. Somehow I swung around and knocked the cup over splashing water over the bottom third of a completed painting. Of course, it ruined the surface of the pastel and stained flat areas of acrylic. I had to rapidly dry the surface with a blow dryer and then repaint the acrylic (not too hard) and then redo the pastel from the reddish primer which took at least a week. It was a learning experience, to say the least. From then on I kept my water cup on the floor... down low where damage from any accident would be minimal.

But then there was a worse accident which happened a little over a year ago. I was taking a weekend drawing/painting class to earn continuing education hours required by my job teaching art. I would often roll up paintings and take them into the school to discuss/critique them. My latest painting, at the time, was nearly done with the exception of the figure and the decorative elements in the arch and halo.


When I got home, I left the painting in the trunk because it was pouring. It kept raining over the whole weekend so I decided to let it stay in the trunk where it would be safe. Sometime during the week, my brother threw a heavy car jack into the trunk on top of the rolled-up painting. 🤬 When I unrolled it, it had major creases and cracks across the entire painting in several places. I tried any number of methods to fix it. I sprayed the back with water and blow-dried it; I ironed it; I painted over the cracks with multiple layers of paint. There was no saving it. Eventually, I got a large sheet of tracing paper and copied the image. I also measured all the decorative elements and their placement. I transferred the image to a new paper and then redid the entire painting. What was amazing was how rapid the process was with the second painting. It made me recognize how much time in the painting process is spent in thought. It also made me realize how much more difficult it is to create an original painting than it is to make a copy. The final painting actually ended up as one of my best IMO... almost impossible to tell from the "original".

I paint at a table, right in front of a window. My cat had the habit of going in and out through that window, which is of course an accident waiting to happen, so I closed the window.

She did not realize it was closed, so one day, while I was innocently painting a little still life setup, in a great hurry, she jumped onto the table and tried to run through the closed window. Bumped her head, got a fright, and stormed back, right through my still life setup and palette.

I was less than amused. :)
Most of what I wear has paint on it. The touch that you add as you walk out the door with your coat on...
A paper towel with globs of cadmium yellow oil paint in it once ended up on the floor. Then a small white dog ran though it….
By the time I was able to get him the dog had yellow spots on his feet, legs, face and belly. He also left small trail of yellow on the hall and living room carpeting, the dining room rug and a blanket which was luckily spreed out on the side of the couch he jumped up on.
That was the worst but in the end it did clean up well.

The first time I used my wooden pallet I sat it on the stand next to me and it slid over the edge landing upside down on the rug in my painting room. That one didn't clean up as well.
Going to an art school was a real shift from grade school where we (artists to be) were few in number and often dressed to impress. OK... not "impress"... but stand out. Many students began their time in art school dressing up to stand out from others. But the students were all artists and not impressed. Even more so, we all rapidly discovered that the best artists' "uniform" was a pair of old jeans and an old t-shirt (or perhaps a sweatshirt or flannel shirt in colder weather. This was so because we rapidly discovered that paint got everywhere. You might get some chrome yellow on your nice sweater from sitting at a desk in Art History or Literature class where a painting major had sat the period before you... or just brushing up against the stair rails on the way to the library.
I've had prussian blue cat prints across the floor. One time a cow flattened my camera. I spilled Pepsi on a newly finished portrait.