imperfectionism

I was talking to my art teacher the other day, because we decided to paint a landscape using a picture from a book…and I absolutely *suck* at drawing what I’m looking at exactly like it’s supposed to…I can’t copy right to save my life. And as she looked over at my adaptation of the image she realized that – my art teacher is a realist, she is *great* at copying, and I absolutely fail. haha. Copying sounds soooo bad I know, but I don’t know what else to call it, so if anyone out there is a realist please please please don’t take this as a my-art-is-better-than-yours-dig, because it takes a lot of work and skill to be able to draw what you see the way you (and everyone else) see it, and it’s a skill I definitely don’t have – not for lack of trying.

Actually, growing up I thought the only real art was realism. Being able to re-create something already created perfectly or better or even just…so it looked similar. Being able to draw an accurate landscape, or Charlie Brown, and have both of those things actually look like they do in real life. My artistic ability was great until my sister became amazing at drawing things like she (and everyone else) saw them…then my artistic ability dwindled down to nothing.

I left it. Thinking I wasn’t good at art because it was literally impossible for me to create exact or similar replicas. I think a lot of that has to do with my mentality – I am not a perfectionist. If I were a perfectionist, I bet I could make great replicas because I’d drive myself crazy matching everything up right, but I’m not, to me, that takes all the fun out of it and makes it stressful….just because it’s the opposite of my personality. I’m satisfied if I like it, and if I think it’s good and pretty then I’m most likely going to leave it at that instead of continuing to mess with it to make it just so.

Mostly because I don’t want to mess it up from trying to make it better when it was already good to start with (this has happened before, and it’s not like there’s an undo button). I guess some of my philosophy in that respect comes from Voltaire’s idea that “perfect is the enemy of the good” (my art teacher thought that was weird as I was explaining my imperfectionist tendencies) and I guess if I hadn’t had to correct so many mistakes from trying to make something even better (perfect) when it was already good, then it’d be a different story. I like imperfection. It’s human, real…..somehow.

So much of my life was spent trying to be “perfect” to be “best” even though I was already “good”. I already know it’s unattainable, believe me, I am keenly aware of my imperfections and the fact I’ll never make it to perfect. Art is my therapy, it’s the place I go where there’s no pressure to be perfect, there’s beauty in my imperfections, in my crazy unrealistic pieces that are dramatically lacking in perspective (which I am also keenly aware of, I really do try, I spent years trying to be a good realist, trying to get perspective and everything down, trying to have my art encouraged instead of mocked or sarcastically praised) and that my style isn’t “mainstream” or even great…but it’s me. I am imperfect, art is more than lines and colors, it’s telling myself that it’s okay to be not like the others, it’s okay to have flaws, and it’s great to learn.

Also, my art teacher is fantastic.

One comment

  1. thnx 4 this article! I needed to hear this 2day! I wanna hear it’s ok to not get it “just” right. What a relief to know that I’m not under any expectations/laws. It’s stressful to b under that & I wanna have fun!

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