So I started on another one. This time I found the perfect face somewhere on the Internet. She is my perfect model, my perfect symbol of beauty. I wanted to draw her and it had to be exactly like her. Well I started drawing, and lil' miss perfectionist came right back in. "It doesn't look like her", "You can't get the lips right", "that left eye isn't right". I erased and erased, and finally decided that I had a pretty close representation, even though it was not perfect. Here is the beginning drawing:
The lips were driving me batty at this stage....and that left eye still. But I started to slap on some paint. I am experimenting with a more neutral background than my norm. Here she is with the first bit of paint:
Starting to come to life, but I was still very displeased. She doesn't look enough like my model. I was fretting a lot about the lips at this point. Now I am looking at them here and suddenly they look great to me. I changed them a bit though, and here is where she is now (I think I might try to take the lips back to where they were above though).:
Sorry the pic is a little grainy, it was taken last night. Anyway, this little gal is a Leanan Sidhe. These are faerie women that are believed to attach themselves to artists. Irish folklore says they are beautiful dark muses that both provide inspiration and suck the life from their host. Many artists are driven mad and die young because of their relationship with a Leanan Sidhe.
I think this is in a way a metaphor for the artistic inspiration itself. It comes in and you fall in love with it like it is a beautiful lover. But often, the ego mind sets in and you think the artistic inspiration is all you and from you, or your mind. Eventually the inspiration wanes, and the artist can be driven mad when they can no longer find it anymore.
Then there is the perfectionism. Driven by your mind, or ego, to create the perfect work of art, you can drive yourself mad. I am laughing at myself here. This little Leanan Sidhe is truly doing her job on me. But I am starting to get that you can create your idea of perfect beauty, and it doesn't have to be perfect. Although, if you are doing it in a state of joy instead of anxiety....it will in no way be imperfect.
I was inspired to write about artistic perfectionism after my gifted artist friend Steph Granshaw posted a work of Audrey Kawasaki's today on her Facebook page. Audrey of course is a very gifted artist and fairly famous. Her work always seems like sheer perfection, but the first thing I noticed about this work was that the right eye was way too far over to the right. Now maybe most people that do not constantly paint faces wouldn't notice this. But I sit and stared at it and thought about how much it would have drove me crazy and that I would have had to fix it. But Audrey left it, and it is still perfect. Here is the painting, go have a look and marvel at her other work if you haven't before.
Hope you are all walking the path of non-perfectionism today........