Art is not perfection. That’s why abstract art really appeals to me – because there’s no expectation that the result is anything specific. Art journaling appeals to me for the same reasons – no rules about what the outcome must look like. Art is not perfection – that’s very freeing for me because at heart, I’m an “A-type” personality. I want everything to be just so. And all those faces I want soooo badly to be able to draw – I want them to be so pretty! It’s just not happening for me because I don’t have the discipline to practice long enough. I know that if I spent years studying and practicing I could do them well enough. So, the truth is that is just not a priority for me.
Art Should Be Fun
Since I can’t draw women without those damn penis noses, I stick to abstract, less frustrating art. Recently, I took an art class from Toni Burt, ummm …. well okay; I take lots of art classes (lots and LOTS of art classes). Toni does lovely, loosely drawn ladies in her mixed media pieces. So, when the annual One Hundred Day Project came up in April, I decided to give it a go, drawing one very doodle-y, meant to be totally fun, female character every day for 100 days. Predictably, I only made it about halfway through (that discipline problem I mentioned), but I had great fun and some of these silly ladies ended up in my Age is Just A Number collection.
But, in the process, I learned to be less critical of myself. Each doodle was done in under 30 seconds and I didn’t try to correct my “errors.” They pretty much always made me laugh. And for me, that’s the point – having fun. They don’t have realistic features; some look as if they have some emotion and some look preposterous. And yet they represent me letting go of the inner critic I know we all have. The one with unrealistic expectations. The one that compares my work to others and tells me I’m not good enough, forever looking over my shoulder pointing out my mistakes. But art is not perfection. Art is a creative outlet.
Art Journaling is Not Perfect
I belong to several art journaling groups on Facebook and there is one common set of questions in all of them – especially from newcomers. The questions are generally like this: “What is the best journal to use?” “Why does the ink run and make drips?” “How to I stop spray inks from from mixing together?” “Which paper should I use?” You get the idea. I’m sure I had the same questions at first. In the words of mixed media queen Dina Wakley, the answer should be “yes”. Because art is not a game of perfection. It’s experimentation. It’s expression. And the answers are not the same for everyone. There is no best – there’s just what works for you.
You’re not going to mess it up unless you insist on perfection. And if perfection is your end goal, then in my humble opinion, you’re in the wrong game. You’re the boss of you. They make more paper and they make more paint. Try it. Don’t like it? Try something else. Rip it up or paint over it. In the digi world, we have the saving grace of “undo”.
Art is not perfection. I found that once I started ignoring that inner critic, I ended up having fun. And, unless you plan to sell your work for hundreds of thousand of dollars, you are doing this as a creative outlet. So, just do it. Create. Let the happy (nor not so happy) accidents happen. That’s how you learn and grow. In fact, it reminds me of my infant granddaughter. She’s only 6 months old and her motor skills are not developed enough to get her aim right as she tries to put everything she touches into her mouth. But she just keeps trying. Makes for some pretty hilarious outcomes, but it doesn’t faze her a bit – she keeps trying.
So … put your big girl panties on and tell your inner critic to shove off.