Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Shell Series #19

Oil on board, 6" x 6"
$125 plus $6 shipping in U.S.
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If you happen to be counting, you might wonder where shell #18 went. I did paint #18, but on reflection decided I wasn't happy with it.

When I began this daily painting project in 2007, I was inspired by the example of the late poet William Stafford, who had disciplined himself to write a poem each day. When asked how he maintained his standards while writing so many poems, Stafford said "I just lower my standards".

Maybe it was spoken half in jest, but it's a pretty wise statement. It speaks to the notion of perfectionism--something every artist I know wrestles with. It's an acknowledgement that we can never achieve that elusive goal; that obsessively pursuing perfection can end up crippling our work or worse, ourselves and others. Stafford's example was to just get on with it--go to work, involve oneself in the process, not so much in the result. Paradoxically, more often than not one is rewarded with better results while having more joy and satisfaction in the doing.

Stafford certainly had standards. He was a master of his craft. If a poem didn't at least meet his minimum level of acceptance, he re-wrote it until it did, or he wrote another. In that spirit, I may try to repaint #18, or it may get thrown into the "better luck next time" pile, which admittedly is a fair-sized heap.

But hey, nobody's perfect.

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