Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Art Blog: PERFECT art, Part 2

"Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves; the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough--that we should try again."
Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

OK, as I was saying. Perfectionism is insidious. I know this for sure because I have lived with it like a facial tic all my life. How did I get this way? Well, I suppose it could be considered a nature vs. nurture issue. I am sure I was born with some of the attributes of perfectionism. I am a Virgo, you know. However, I also heard “It isn’t good enough!” just about every day for the first 17 years of my life. I now know those comments were less about me than the speaker. So be it. Still, it is part of the fabric that makes up Sheree. Oh, I have come a long way baby! At least now I know the differences between the rational and irrational threads of perfectionist thought. Hallelujah for that!

Getting stuck is not a new thing for me. However, I KNOW from experience it is stupid and idiotic. Experience has taught me it is an illusion and a twisted sister of an idea. It is fine to move on to other things. The dead horse pieces will be there when you are ready.

Case in point:
Here are two examples that taught me grand lessons. Ironically, these pieces are two of my favorite paintings.

“Mind of the Artist”

This piece was started by accident. I had to make something else and I used a piece of wood as a table. Working on fabric, the paint seeped through and made the rainbow impression on the wood. I loved the effect so I started to make a painting on that wood. It wouldn’t budge. It just wasn’t happening. Months later, I picked it up and started working on it again. It was then “Mind” was born.

“Universal Dump”

This work was almost put in the dumpster. I remember actually picking it up and starting to head toward the trash bin. I stopped. I had painted the earth and the red swirls. I just didn’t know how to resolve the outer portions of the canvas. I finally gave up. I put it aside. It sat in my studio for more than a year. One day I found some old aviation magazines at a thrift shop. I cut out pics of old airplanes and glued them around the globe painting. It worked! So much for patience!

The moral of this story is striving to be perfect is an imperfection. It is fine to let some things go. It is OK to move on. It is wonderful to allow yourself to “always go further, further” as Picasso said.

Also and most importantly, it is just dandy to be an IMPERFECT artist! Oh, about the "stuck" piece. I have already removed it from sight. I am moving on. :-)


JafaBrit's Art said...

I remember I used to actually be haunted by bad work, it would scream from the closet I had hidden it in. One night I had to go into the closet and rip the dam thing up. Only then could I sleep. I have come a long way in that now I can sort of leave a piece alone or accept it's shite and rework it.

Sheree Rensel said...

For some reason when I read this comment I remembered something from a long time ago. Once I knew this artist named Peter. He was really into Native American culture and tradition. So much so, he even would build sweat lodges and invite people to come sweat with him. Anyway, one thing he would do every year is have an annual "ART BURN". He would invite all the artists he knew to bring a piece of art to burn in a huge bonfire. I think it was supposed to be a get rid of the "bad energy" thing. Well, I was invited each year but never participated. (I couldn't bear the idea of burning even a dud!) Maybe I should take a lesson from you and Pete. I need to do a ritualistic "elimination" of some awful piece! LOL LOL LOL