View of Santa Fe and Taos Mountains from the Sandias
You will learn to enjoy the process… and to surrender your need to control the result. You will discover the joy of practicing your creativity. The process, not the product, will become your focus. -Julia Cameron
After seeing this quote posted on facebook by Jeane, of High Road Artist, I started thinking how it would have been impossible for me to ever get any paintings or ceramics done if I had held onto my perfectionistic tendencies while working on my art. As a matter of fact, part of what stimulates my imagination and informs my art is the very imperfection of nature.
However, it is easy to lose sight of that and as Jeane posted on High Road Artists’ page on facebook, surrendering the need to control “goes against the grain of our product-driven culture”.
This need to make something perfect certainly played into my taking so long to coming around back to doing art. The very act of allowing myself to relax and let go of outcome is what has allowed me to make anything at all. After finally getting going I noticed that the first few paintings I made before I really started to let go and allow things to happen, were really about my flowing with the process and not forcing an outcome. After my first few “bad” paintings, really beautiful things started to happen. I have had the same experience when using other mediums; easily the first one or two attempts to do anything come out poorly or just ok. If I just ease up on any pressure I am putting on myself and give it second or third try, magical things usually start to happen.
This magic of art is in its imperfection or as the Japanese call it wabi-sabi. Art’s true beauty, as in nature, lies within its asymmetry and perceived flaws. Jeane talks about this more in her article, Centinela Traditional Arts, Part 2, where she discusses Irvin Trujillo’s view that imperfection is what gives art its soul.
Every time I start a piece and every time I finish one I have to remind myself to let go of my own expectations so that I can see what is truly there. I hope that in my relaxing and letting things flow, as I give shape to a piece of clay, or place my brush on the canvas, that I infuse the piece with soul and life by allowing it to be perfectly imperfect.