Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Myth of Perfection and How it Kills Creativity and Productivity

Just finished paintings handing on the wall beside framer's corners. Boxes still unpacked but needing more storage and shelving. This is not a perfect studio, it's a working studio.

Perfection has always been a nasty task master and one in which nothing you do is good enough so you never do anything. Period. For the longest time I had imagined a studio that was just for it's own usage. And I got one back in the 90's but due to illness I lost it (and my house). When I finally began painting again it was in a multi-use room and I was outgrowing it very quickly. The cat even seemed to be looking at me sideways, seemingly tired of having to pussy-foot around everything (pun intended).

Well, I finally have a designated area again for my work and I noticed a peculiar idea or thought kept coming around. It was the idea that somehow, I should have everything already settled - a place for everything and everything in it's place and I wasn't measuring up. Now don't get me wrong, I am actually inclined to being quite organized, so what was this about?

Upon further internal inquiry I realized, it was just fear. Fear of economic hardship, of failure in all it's guises. Somehow, pre-occupation with organization and feeling bad about not meeting some predetermined idea of how my space, my studio and all that is entailed in that should function and be. It was seeping in and blocking me from actually DOING things. I have enough road blocks to deal with (like continuing chronic health issues that keep me out of the studio) so I sure as heck didn't need this. This fear was keeping me from doing new works of art, continuing to explore and produce and instead I was getting further entangled in the never-ending stream of paper work, organizing of studio, of my laptop desktop, of my paints, you name it I could go on and on. What I realized is this. That, of course, I need to be organized enough to know where everything is (generally) what needs to be done (today, tomorrow, next week, this month, etc.) and I have implemented a day minder binder for that (that I made from an old binder and outputting pages from ical) and have a year at a glance wall calendar (ical again to the rescue). Shelving needs to be ordered and put up but that's not going to make me be more productive, really. It's just going to suck even more hours away from studio time. The key is prioritization not more organization.

So, I have posted my art studio for all to see. As you can see it's being used, not sitting pretty for a photo op shot (though that would be okay too). It's amazing that fear can be so subtle a foe as to hide behind such a virtuous action as organization. But it can and does and it's up to us to recognize that and that it is keeping us from creating and producing something new, which, can be a very scary endeavour.

So don't let your fear block you. Whatever that dream, or idea, or project you have ready to go but feel like your just not ready, I think you just might be. Start small and build up and before you know it you're on the horse flying over the wide open prairie! Myself, having numerous ideas ready to go and thumbnails sketches to work from I am ready for the next white canvas. No fear, just excitement and actually, a bit of frustration just ready to bolt from the gates and transform into sheer creative joy! And, as you can tell by the shot, the cat curled up and looking out the window with the sun on her, is a lot happier too!

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