Sunday, January 15, 2017

Perfectionism


Perfectionism seemed behind me, but that is only because I have become fairly good at what I do.


Last week I began something new - Art Journaling. Perfectionism returned like the nasty, caught in your throat slime that it is, slowly choking me until all my creativity was extinguished.


One of the things I want to reclaim this year is making with my hands. I have tried collage work at various times over the past two years. Generally, I would get to the halfway point in a project and then my love for photography would return and the half-finished collage piece would sit on my art desk for months while I was at the beach, in the woods or exploring old buildings with my camera, completely captivated again by my first love.


Part of the problem with collage pieces is that I start too big. Smoothing drywall compound on 11" X 14" wood panels, letting that dry for the required 24 hours then coming back and staring cluelessly at it.


This year I am determined to try again, but on a smaller scale. I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased a cute, little red 5" X 5" art journal.


Being an explorer I love maps. Recently I purchased an old map of Lake Erie at an antique story. It was perfect for my first project. I got busy measuring, cutting, gluing and stamping. Loving what I was creating, I was ready to put the finishing touch on it - a stamped date for the date created. I inked up the stamp, did some sample stamps on the craft paper that covered my desk, one final ink and I was ready to commit. After pressing firmly I lifted the stamp, despair filled me. Only half the date had stamped on the paper due to the uneven, bumpy layers of paper and glue. I walked away.


An hour later I came back, picked up the matching color marker and tried to fix the error. It looked exactly like that - that I had tried to fix the error. I loved everything else about the pages, but that one mistake was the only thing I saw. I tried to embrace the concept of each piece having one mistake in it, it wasn't working.


I went back to Hobby Lobby and bought a new, smaller date stamp. I bought two new art journals. I began again, creating two new pages in a 5.5" X 8.5" journal. I loved one page, hated the other. My 52 week project was held up for a whole week as I struggled with these pages. My theme for the week was Being a Maker. Success was not coming as a maker.


Then it dawned on me, I didn't start out good at photography, I got good from lots and lots of practice. Why did I think I would be good at Art Journaling and collage pieces without putting in the practice time.

22 comments:

  1. Sometimes we are harder on ourselves that we should be. Not only are you a maker, you're also a finisher. Now pat yourself on the back! :)

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  2. I have a box filled with half finished altered books and canvas'. I came to the conclusion that I was better journaling digitally! But, I still have my supplies! But the old saying is so relevant. Practise makes perfect

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  3. I'm terrible for trying to make the first page perfect, but life isn't like that is it? We strive for perfection but really, it doesn't exist but our hobbies push us further and further towards it. Experimenting, changing, getting frustrated. We get there in the end, by try, try, trying again. Good luck with this project. I know it will be amazing!!

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  4. Life is full of challenges, each relative to the person and situation. I understand your feelings and you are a tender inspiration to all of us daily. The journaling will flourish, in the way it's intended. Perhaps the magic of your journaling is the bumpy path along the route. Either way, thank you for sharing. I'm eager to continue on your adventure, and the imperfect journal seems perfectly pleasing to me.

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  5. We are so similar. I used to be a severe perfectionist before I got sick and then I had to accept quickly there are things I simply can't do or need help doing. That vein of perfectionism will pop up now and again but I am better than before. Totally connected with your feelings on this!

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  6. You wanted to explore a new project and you did. It had a tiny, tiny flaw but that was part of the learning process. I love the Japanese idea of embracing flaws and realizing that you can love and respect something that is not perfect. It is called wabi sabi. They repair a crack in pottery with gold. Give yourself a gold star for learning a new skill.

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  7. "Then it dawned on me, I didn't start out good at photography, I got good from lots and lots of practice."
    Which is exactly why (difficult as it may be!) you should embrace those perfectly imperfect first attempts. A year from now, you will appreciate them. I promise you that.
    Keep at it, my friend.

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  8. You wrote exactly what I said aloud yesterday: My visions and goals are outpacing my reality. I'm swimming in creative frustration. Today is a new day.

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  9. Your words ring true for me as well. I've recently begun to crochet, making small flower coasters, and my first several attempts have been far less than perfect. But I am proud that I was able to let go and embrace the process. I see you doing the same. And there are a few things I've tried, like artful journals, that I finally realize just aren't meant for me - or at least not in the way I envisioned. What I am really good at is scribbling little bits and pieces of my life on napkins and the backs of brochures - and this too is artful. Watching as you find your way!

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  10. Perfectionism can be such a monster. I know we're all familiar with the cliché analogy of the child learning to walk. She doesn't beat herself up (or give up) because her first attempt ended in falling down, she just keeps getting back up and trying again, and soon she's running everywhere. As Donna Hopkins commented, sometimes you find that something just isn't your "thing," but you at least need to let yourself practice enough to find out one way or the other. I know all these things because I am the world's worst perfectionist ever! I don't know how many things I've given up on without even trying, because I didn't think I'd be good enough from the start.

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  11. I don't art journal but follow many who do and they always refer to it as their daily practice. You are trying to make a finished product. It's practice! My husband loves to quote Bob Seger around here when it's time to move on from something "turn the page". So don't correct it, turn the page! (My two cents!)

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  12. Great reminder. I am taking a photo class by Roberto Valenzuela. His photos are amazing. But he showed photos he thought were amazing when he began in photography. It was very comforting to see. I like that turn the page quote above too.

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  13. Why does that happen . . .
    We have "feel good" moments over some of our successes.
    Feel hapoy, learn a bunch . . .
    Then try something new and think, "I've got this"
    only to realize, hmmm, this may take me some time.
    You are so cute . . . silly of me to say . . . but I find myself
    laughing at the second trip to HL for more journal books.
    Remember, "we've got this" when we venture out and start something new.
    Some never start . . .

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  14. This post hit me hard this morning. I am the world's worst at needing everything I do to be perfect. I blame it on the ten years I worked for a needlework publishing company where everything absolutely had to be perfect! Being less than perfect has been a hard road. I still cringe when I have to cross out something in my journaling! You are absolutely right. You are starting a new project and mistakes will be made. No more new journals . . . just laugh at your mistakes and keep on going!

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  15. I know what you mean by perfectionism ... I tend to travel that road too! I am fairly good with my hands though this year I'm also learning something new in a year-long class: creating mandalas and as I try to get my fingers round a compass and use it properly, I feel all thumbs!

    You have the right attitude though, lots and lots of practice will definitely help you get to where you want to go - and enjoy it all in the process!

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  16. It seems we are always on the same page. I sit here this morning with stencils surrounding me and a blank brain. I keep telling myself artjournaling is such a time hog but someone told me 'just 10 minutes a day is all you need.' In that case it means no planning, 'just doing', which I guess is what a journal really is. Like 'just writing.' If I look at it as a piece of art it will drive me crazy for lack of ephemera. Just have some fun.

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  17. Would you have loved the art journal pages if your daughter showed them to you and said,'Look what I made mom.'? I bet you would love them exactly how they are. Although I understand how you feel. I see the one little flaw in my work and it is extremely hard not to see it. We are too hard on ourselves and our work. I think your journal looks great...and you are right, it all takes practice. :)

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  18. I think we have the same disease (lol). As I was looking at your photo of the journal with the imperfect stamp, I was thinking - it looks awesome, no problem! But I think that if it was mine, it would likely bug me. I actually like things that are a bit flawed - except for when I do it...

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  19. I seem to not feel the pressure of perfectionism with my art journaling as I do with other things. I've always had the idea that it was for me and that I was playing. It's always been my 'child' outlet. In teaching art journaling, I've seen women come alive as they have given themselves permission to just play not concentrating on the outcome or having to make something perfect. I like your page...it's not perfect just as we are not perfect but awesome all the same....

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  20. Oh Man...You and I are cut from the same cloth...Ive started stopped started stopped art journaling for just this reason. It is Just ridiculous....I'm ridiculous. There are no mistakes in art...I tell my kids at school all the time when they are reduced to tears...I also start too big..buy everything then hate what I make...I need to stop looking at pinterest too. I love what you've started.

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  21. We are our own worst critic - perfectionism is but one of the culprits. Love the journal and like the others, see art and not the flaw. While I agree with Jill about turning the page - I totally get the go back to HL and buy 2 more to get to that mentally pictured end result because anything short of that is just 'less'. I have no doubt you will regroup and tackle it again (checking twice for the funky paper bumps) until you get that desired result. There is also something to be said for recognizing, accepting, and embracing 'who you are'- even if that person is sometimes 'perfectionist'.

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  22. Perfectionism...the ugly goblin that kills creativity. Turn the page and begin again. Using what you love makes the your page real and personal so you are starting just as you should. I am so happy to see you trying this art form and I am looking forward to seeing more of your pages.
    FYI: I can never get that pesky date stamp to stamp perfectly either. I threw it aside and hand write the date.

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