Saturday, October 20, 2012


While reading the latest Robert Genn newsletter discussing perfectionism in art, I came across this post from a reader who reminded me of the book, Art and Fear:

Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland:

"The perfect is the enemy of the good… To require perfection is to invite paralysis. The pattern is predictable: as you see error in what you have done, you steer your work toward what you can do perfectly. You cling more tightly to what you already know you can do—away from risk and exploration, and possibly further from the work of your heart. You find reasons to procrastinate since to not work is to not make mistakes. Believing that artwork should be perfect, you gradually become convinced that you cannot make such work. (You are correct.) Sooner or later, since you cannot do what you are trying to do, you quit. And in one of those perverse little ironies of life, only the pattern itself achieves perfection—a perfect death spiral: you misdirect your work; you stall; you quit."

Yep, been there, done that!  Haven't we all??  So maybe take a lesson from John Cage (mentioned earlier in the comments section of the same newsletter) and set our work on fire and then run it through the press again! ha ha

In other words, let's not take ourselves so seriously.  I mean, seriously!!! 
Today, spending the day with our 4-year-old grandboy, who is a bundle of energy - whoosh and whoosh here and there.  And me, well I began the day with a migraine - not a very auspicious start.  Trying to get some caffeine in me so stopped at my local Starbucks and asked them to make me a Grande Half-Caf Carmel Latte.  Yum, yes?  Well, they used my gold card (which no longer gets me free syrups in my drinks - thanks, Starbucks for catering to a gold card member's needs) that had my name on it.  When the drink came up, it said, LINDA.  My name is not Linda but it was marked as my drink so I took it.  Took 1 sip in the car, no taste of caramel.  Perhaps it's me...took another sip, no caramel - not even a hint of caramel in that caramel latte.  And my name is not Linda.  Not a good beginning - but it will be a good day, a productive day, a fun day and the grandboy will have a good visit.  In other words, I can't take myself or my name or my preferred drink seriously today.  And I may just rethink my place for coffee - I mean, $4.29 for a drink that wasn't even what I ordered?

If you're looking for perfectionism, you won't find it 75% of the time anymore, so set it on fire and move on...


Carol Blackburn said...

Oh boy Rhonda....just remember you are not alone in all of this; just think how the real Linda must have felt. And, some days I'm not sure just who I am either! Hope the migraine is gone :)

Barb Sailor said...

I have been fighting this for years - this article states it so clearly! Thanks for posting it!

CrimsonLeaves said...

I am currently in that downward spiral and it is for exactly the reason stated. I need to jar myself out of this.

Migraines and not getting what you ordered? That is indeed a bad start to your day. Hopefully the little guy pulled you out of it.

Diana said...

HI Rhoda, hope your head is feeling much better. Caffeine does help a bad headache. That was a great message for me that you wrote today. I've been trying to get 2 paintings done and just trying to pick a subject became maddening and so I've decided.. I'm going to enjoy painting it and phooey it's going to be fine. enjoy your dear boy.. love to you, Diana

RH Carpenter said...

LOL! I guess you're right, Carol, but there were few people in there so I think I was Linda with the missing caramel. Hmmm, Linda with the Missing Caramel = perhaps a mystery by a foodie? ha ha

Barb, I can't imagine you have any fear - you are always moving into new areas!

Sherry, it's hard not to fear failure and let others determine what is failure and what is success. Oh, if we were only as sure as 5-year-olds about everything! ha ha

Diana, thanks; having the boy was fun and the migraine was caught before getting bad so a good day! LOVE you latest works - that oak leaf hydrangea and birds is soooooo sooooo good!

Debbie Nolan said...

Dear Rhonda - this is a great post - I have heard that thought before but never so well stated and yes - lets never take ourselves so seriously. As for being Linda and not the right drink as well as the price - I do think it might be time for a change - how about "Duncan Donuts"!! (:

RH Carpenter said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Debbie. And you're right - perhaps Dunkin Donuts should be my new go-to place but not one very close...hmmmm. But since I'm heading that way for my allergy shot today, I can definitely go there instead of the SawBucks place! ha ha