I know you said in your head, “Practice makes perfect,” even after you read my title. I would like to challenge that thinking, though. Perfect means being less than your authentic self – you’re trying to fit into someone else’s definition of how to live YOUR life. Perfect is hard to live up to and often results in some kind of a break down. Striving for perfection just means you’re in a constant struggle. That sounds like a miserable way to live.
Instead, practice should make Fun! As an example of this, when I’m prepping to create a painting, I use an 8.5″x5.5″ piece of watercolor paper. I fold it in half, so I’ve got four chances per paper and I do a mini-version of the larger one I’ve planned. It lets me figure out the space on the page, have fun with my colors, and see if I like on paper what I have in my head. I don’t generally finish the thing to the very end, but just so I’ve got the concept out of my head and onto paper. Then, I let it sit around on a shelf for a while and I contemplate it.
The images that I’ve only needed two of the sides to get my idea out, though, become cards. They’re the perfect size and I generally send them to family members. They know what I’m doing… 🙂 I’m having fun and it’s like I’m inviting them to look over my shoulder as I’m creating. Here’s Hedgehog. This is the one that I’m happy with:
But here’s what the back of that looks like:
I make notes about what I didn’t like, scribble on it to show what I was trying to do and make some comment about why this didn’t work out. In this case, I needed to start with yellow, not blue. The blue was too dark, too heavy-handed. As I say in the image, “Hedgehog is just a little bitty guy.”
Some day, someone will get this card and I hope both the front and the back make them smile. But my practice wasn’t to make perfect – the “final” that I’m happy with also has a few things that need to be changed up when I move to the larger format paper, but it makes me smile to see him sitting on my shelf. Ultimately, that’s what I want. Something that will make the observer smile and just feel good.
Perfect doesn’t make an observer feel good. But Fun does!
PS: I’m blogging along with Effy Wild in April. If you’d like to join the facebook group to read the rules, go here: