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Monday
Dec172012

Anti-Perfection 

A close-up of part of the canvas painting. 

I stitched this a few weeks ago. It started with a canvas painting of circles in neocolors and water on canvas from... well I don't know how long ago I did it. It was something I really liked, but I felt like it needed something. I cannot fit a frame under my needle and didn't feel like taking apart my sewing machine so I pulled the canvas off the frame {simple, no tools needed, the staples aren't holding it that tight, turns out} and put it under the sewing machine with white thread in the top and stitched a few of the circles until the thread ran out {I didn't plan ahead and analyze how much thread I had, as I was caught up in the moment}. Then I decided the thread wasn't visible enough and switched to charcoal thread on the top and stitched the rest of the circles. But I liked the black stitching better so I went back over the white circle stitching with black, not paying attention to the existing thread.

It is not perfect. It is on a different planet than perfect. 

We all make mistakes. We aim the brush for Cadmium Yellow Medium and wind up with Paynes Gray. We want pastel and we get grunge. We want graffiti and we get art deco. Don't wrap your self-worth in your finished page. Don't bitch about a page you dislike. It doesn't move you forward. Just turn the page. Start again. It is all process. It is the focus on making art. Making. It is the time spent creating. If the page is 178 degrees off from your intention? It is just another step. Another page. Another bit of paint. Just turn the page. Start again. It is all process. There are no grades. You have not failed.

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Reader Comments (12)

I totally subscribe to this philosophy; its just paper; move on. I never like all my pages but I just move on. Some I end up loving, some I love from the very first splat, some I never love but I continually move on.

12.17.2012 | Unregistered Commentertina

This is just what someone like me needs to hear. As somebody who used to throw countless drawings and designs away, I can now move on with mistakes I make in art, after discovering your website and blog. Just this week, I created a piece where I made a mistake right at the very start. It took everything in my not to throw it away. I moved on and ended up being very happy with the end result. It wasn't that I just didn't want to start the project all over again. I wanted to accept that the mistake was a part of the finished project.

12.17.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlison

Well said, Tammy. I have a composition book full of things that are not perfect. Some I will use in another project... some I won't. I'm learning patience with myself. There are so many areas of art I want to learn... some I will do really well and some I won't. The point is to enjoy the create process.

12.17.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBoo

Enjoy making art. If you like it, then it is done. If you don't like it, set it aside. Look at it another day, in another light, upside down or sideways, what can you do with it today? The key is to do something creative everyday. Whether you do some quick pencil sketches, work on a painting, or just doodle, you are doing something creative! Have fun and lose yourself in your art each and every day.
"You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." ~ Maya Angelou

12.18.2012 | Unregistered CommenterCindy

So true - it's reasons like this I love your blog, too. This is what I need to hear. Four years ago, I did an art qualification in school, and were it not for my best friend, my teacher, and at home, my Mum, I would have thrown away or destroyed so many pieces I did, because they "went wrong" or "weren't perfect" - lines go wonky, things aren't straight, it isn't like how you intended. I was so, so caught up with perfectionism, it was starting to affect my life (not just my art) now, my journal and my art are places for fun, and, though my perfectionism still bubbles under the surface, it is controlled and isn't all-consuming. I amaze myself every time I make a "mistake" (though it's not a mistake) and can deal with it and carry on. Yes, it's hard and sometimes something flares up inside me a bit, but then it quietens down and I carry on.

My art journal is my new favourite thing, and it has helped me so much in so many ways - mostly controlling perfectionism and making me happier. It amazes me every day.

12.18.2012 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte

More years ago than I can believe, when I was majoring in art, I had an instructor who said, "Sometimes art is making the best of your mistakes." And though I still want everything to be perfect, sometimes his words come back to me. It's not the only thing he said, of course, but it's the only thing I remember, so it must be important to me!

12.18.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLorinda

As far as I am concerned, I can never go wrong in my art journal. It's for me! If I like it, yay! If not, so what? It's relaxing to scribble and colour and spray and layer. I experiment and play and give myself permission to leave something and come back to it or not. It really is the journey for me when it comes to art journalling, rather than the destination!

12.18.2012 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

I totally agree! my art journal books ( I have several going) are my playground. I will sometimes go back to a page that I did a while back and add to it. It's so fun and freeing to explore different techniques and supplies, colors, images and textures. My only regret is that it has taken me 50 some years to figure this out!

12.18.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLee

I love the polka dot circles! I do agree that the charcoal/black thread stands out more strongly. I like it. In the pictures you can hardly tell that you used white thread. Maybe it looks different in real life? In any event, yay for you to continue on even if it didn't look "perfect." That happened a few times to me when making postcards for Hanna's swap.

12.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterStargirl

So really and truly, the imperfection didn't bother me in the least so I'm not really patting myself on the back for "breaking through" but saying that it is not a big deal, to just move on.

12.19.2012 | Registered Commentergypsy

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