The Pursuit for Perfection

I just finished this painting “raccoon in a tree hollow” and I  became very frustrated during the process. I wanted so badly for this painting to be “perfect”. I love the photograph and have seen it done by other artists with great success.

I was initially off to a great start with the raccoon, but soon realized that the bark was just too complicated for me to paint with the drawing I did. It just wasn’t detailed enough for this painting. I tried to redo the bark over and over, lifting paint, putting washes down, lifting and repeat.  I was confused by where the shadows should be and lost my light source.  I ended up with a mess of overworked paper and muddy colors. I felt so frustrated and defeated. Any creative endeavor has the potential to make us feel this way, especially when we invest so much time, energy, money and most of all, heart and soul.

I know art is subjective. I know art isn’t about perfection but the process of creating. Art is the joy of painting, practicing and improving my skills. I know I learn from these “unsuccessful” paintings and that is good. But…..the pursuit for perfection lingers in the back of my mind.  “THIS is going to be my best painting ever”, I say to myself at the start of a new painting project. I “know” this isn’t the best thing to say to myself, but I desperately want to achieve the level of painting I have set as a standard for myself.  I want to be there “now” and that is the inherit frustration of the pursuit for perfection. It feels bad. And I love painting so much that I don’t want it to feel bad. Ever.

So, I am going to try and just enjoy the process and rid myself of this self imposed standard. I am going to paint and try to find something beautiful in every painting and along the way, I will improve.

Practice makes…. no not perfect, but better.

Wishing you ease of being in all you do today. Thanks for reading!

Maggie