Thursday, July 5, 2012

Perfectly Imperfect

"Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering.

There is a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in.

- Leonard Cohen

One of my personal goals this year has been to liberate myself from a tendency toward perfectionism and its accompanying pressures and constraints.  When working on my designs for Plumeria Papercraft, my approach is very precise, trying to achieve the “perfect” line or curve, the “perfect” placement of an image or the “perfect” blend of colors and patterns.  On the one hand, this approach results in maintaining high standards, but on the other hand, realizing that perfection can never truly be achieved, I experience undue stress and drain my time and energy when I get hung up on trying to be “perfect.”  This is definitely an ongoing challenge!
One way I’m allowing myself to embrace imperfection is through my personal artwork.  I’ve been exploring mediums other than paper (my comfort zone!), experimenting with new techniques and trying to loosen up and go with the flow of spontaneity.  When I silence my inner critic and let go of fear about how my artwork will be judged by others, I’m discovering I can create something perfectly imperfect!
Our daughter and I often work on art projects together, and during a spring break afternoon earlier this year, we were dabbling in acrylic paints on small canvases.  I was painting flower blossoms, but they weren’t turning out as I envisioned, so I gently wiped over them with a paper towel, intending to touch up the flowers with more paint.  Instead, I discovered I actually appreciated the imperfect quality resulting from removing some of the original paint.  I then painted a section in gold, but the swath of metallic color looked too garish to me, and I thought “oh no, not another misstep!”  I decided to try covering a portion of the gold with patterned paper, leaving only a thin strip visible.  The patterned paper and the thin strip of gold paint paired well together, but the paper looked like an afterthought instead of an integral part of the piece.  “How to move beyond yet another misstep?!”  I added a line of seed beads along one edge of the paper and was pleased with how all of the elements finally seemed to meld well together.  Responding to each misstep with acceptance and an open mind enabled my painting to evolve into a perfectly imperfect mixed media piece!  Both of our creations are now hanging in the hallway of our home (and shared below.)  Mine is a visible reminder to myself to embrace the beauty and freedom of imperfection.

"Spring Blossoms and Lichen" by Lisa

"Flower in the Deep Green" by Melia
How do you embrace imperfection?  What's perfectly imperfect in your life?