Perfectionism is something I have fought against, dealt with and agonized over most of my life. The older I get, the more I strive to lean into vulnerability and aim for progress, not perfection. Never have I fought with perfection and the anxiety behind it, then in my art, and sharing my art.
Imposter syndrome, anxiety, fear of success, fear of failure… call it what you will. Perfection is something I have strived for my entire life. And if I couldn’t achieve success? Why bother to start?
Inspiration on a Sleepless Night
I could not sleep last night. It was not for trying, I simply could not sleep. I was exhausted, my eyes would close, and yet sleep would not come.
This happens once in a while, and usually I spend this newfound time wasting away on Pinterest or Instagram. Last night, however, I decided to do something creative. Inspired by the color work of Minnie Small and the fog drenched view from my kitchen window, I set to work on a digital painting.
Working with Limitations
The experiment in “progress” was just what I needed. I couldn’t achieve perfection. I knew I was going to make mistakes from the start. This was itself liberating. If you start, knowing you’re going to fail, you only have an upwards direction to go. Right? Right.
Drawing trees is something I love to do, despite always hating the result. I’m never happy with them. “Happy little trees” are not something I’ve ever achieved. Last night, however, I didn’t let myself “Undo” strokes. I had to work with what I had done.
I worked with a limited color palette and took my time with each stroke of the “brush” on my iPad. ProCreate is something still new to me, thus I don’t know its full powers or capabilities… but last night I really didn’t need to know. One or two layers, a handful of green hues, and I was set.
Surprisingly? I’m happy with the result. I’m happy with the progress I made on the piece. Is it a Renoir? Or DaVinci? Nope. It’s a Ryan Lee and that makes me happy.
I’m happiest that it let my mind wander and relax and I fell into a fairly restful sleep after calling the image complete.
I even want to print it out on some watercolor paper and hang it up in my office. I never want to do that. I’m never happy with my own work… but now.. I see the benefit in admiring your own work. It makes you want to do more. And more. And the more you do the better you become.
It’s not about perfection; it’s about bettering yourself. It’s about progress.