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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Chasing Perfection – is it a Wild Goose Chase?

"With these Hands -- Love"  24 x 18 oil on canvas
We all want the perfect life, the best husband or wife, wonderful children, and a great job. If you’re a creative, you also want a bestselling novel, a T.V. series, or a show in a prestigious gallery. That perfect project is almost within reach, you can feel it in your bones, if only you can find the right combination of skill and good luck.

If you don’t believe this is true, take a look at recent sales of self help books. As people chase after their dreams and unrealistic expectations, these books continue to fly off the shelves. Their banquet of promises serves up redemption (of career and soul) with a helping of hope for the hopeless. Their combined themes provide a dose of inspiration and a jump-start of motivation. 

But there’s one thing these novella's leave out: the work involved in becoming “all that you can be” is up to you. You must do the work. You must practice every day. The grueling effort to succeed must be done by you. When you close the book, you are alone.

"With these Hands -- Hope" mixed media on 16 x 20 canvas
I gave up on perfection long ago when I discovered that it was impossible. We mere humans are simply too fallible. We’re programmed for failure, and we must accept this. Failure does not mean the end of anything. For some it is the beginning if we pick ourselves up and try again. Our success should not be dependent on what others think or say, but on what brings us joy and satisfaction.

Some people defy logic and become successful in spite of criticism or failure. Why? Because of their drive and their love for what they do. When they fall, they get back up. They face their demons and try again. Their tenacity may seem foolhardy to some, but it is what gets them up in the morning.

That perfect novel or perfect painting does not exist, anyway. In fact it is the slight errors, the overlaps, the imperfections that give artwork its “painterly” effects. Only beginners strive for perfection trying to make the lines perfect and straight. The seasoned artist is satisfied with illusion, energy and emotion. Once you give up trying to be perfect, that blend of relaxation and looseness takes over and guides your brush intuitively.

In the beginning we must learn the steps that lead to perfection and know the rules that govern our craft. After that, we must joyously create in order to express the passion within. If we are lucky (or blessed), our journey will include not only mistakes and possible failures, but moments of clarity that will make our efforts worthwhile. 
"With these Hands -- Wonder" mixed media on 18 x 24 canvas