Practice, Not Perfect: No. 30 of 40 Forts

Practice, Not Perfect: No. 30 of 40 Forts

Practice, Not Perfect: No. 30 of 40 Forts

Several of my forts have ended up being a little wonky. But none quite so much as this one. Believe it or not, I did not abandon any of my forts once I started created them. I came very close with No. 39. (More about that one later!) And this one also really bothered me. But I resisted trashing it because it perfectly illustrated the point.

How many times have you heard the words practice makes perfect. In fact, I think that phrase is a tad bit annoying. But art and creativity isn’t about perfection. Far from it. Perfectionism is one of the top inhibitors of creating. Nothing is quite so daunting as a blank canvas, empty journal or anything that is so new, so perfect, so intimidating. What if I mess up?

Well, for one thing, in painting, you can just paint over it. Well, I have never actually done that. I have taken several painting classes and rarely have I found painting over it to be the solution. FOR ME. I don’t think of myself as a painter, so I am no expert. But nothing is quite as satisfying as the feel of sweeping paint on a canvas. Ahhh… truly one of my favorite things.

After years of practice of ignoring my internal critic, I have come to allow my inner artist take over. I let her guide my work. And if there is a mistake, somehow that becomes essential to the creation. Just as John Cage left it up to chance, I let the project unfold before my eyes.

top view shows three techniques

top view shows three techniques

With that being said, I resist how-to projects that are too how to. I mean, does everyone want to leave a class with the exact same piece in their hand. That isn’t any fun. Where is the creativity? Where is YOUR expression?

It has been over a year since I taught a workshop. I love teaching. But I run into problems with students who are too worried about making a mistake. They want to know the exact place that you glue a piece of paper. When I see the terror in their eyes, I probably reflect terror right back. I am not comfortable telling them exactly what to make. Instead I feel more like a midwife. I will do my best to encourage, guide and inspire the student to have fun and create something meaningful.

I selected this magazine page because it presents three techniques to create painted paper. I do believe in learning new skills, which you can then modify and use to create new ideas. But more than that I have four P’s that are my favorite guidelines.

persistence and patience in the foreground

persistence and patience in the foreground

The first two include persistence and patience. And the other two are practice and play. Play is were the real innovation happens.

She shared her favorite DIY instructions.

She shared her favorite DIY instructions.

So that is my two cents on being more creative.

She shared her favorite DIY instructions.
persistence, patience, practice, play

This paper sculpture, roughly the size of a coffee cup, is one of forty forts I created during Lent 2010 as a creative exercise and spiritual exploration.

Read about all of the Forty Forts.

Previous: Tightrope: No. 29 of 40 Forts
Next: The Circus Comes to Town: No. 31 of 40 Forts

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