Sunday, May 31, 2009

Perfection is Paralyzing

When I started this sabbatical I thought it was to learn more about my creative spirit. To get in touch with who I am and why I paint the way I do and the subject matter I choose. In Kelly Rae Robert's book she speaks of listening to your whispers (see May 24th post) and I thought that listening closely would be the way to discover who I am as an artist. Interestingly enough she also mentions that the first whispers she heard were for her to start training for a marathon. God forbid that my inner spirit wanted to run anywhere because this 60 year old body hasn't moved past a stroll in 30 years :)

Last week I showed a picture of the first painting I thought I heard my inner spirit wanting to create. It wasn't exactly my style but I figured maybe the lines of communication between my subconscious and conscious mind hadn't yet developed to a point where it was easy for me to interpret those whispers. So I started trying to perfect the whispers I thought I was hearing and this piece is the result. To me it's a disaster. It's too perfect, too pretty, too NOT ME. So I thought I'd just heave it in the garbage and start over when a whispery little voice said "Wait!"
...there might be someone out there in blogland who could turn it into a piece that would please them. So this piece 9" x 12" in size and as yet unnamed could end up on your drawing table. To win, just leave a comment. Perhaps one that will encourage me to keep listening to my inner creative spirit...and on Sunday, June 13th, I'll pick a winner and this piece arrive in your mailbox for you to love as is or to turn into something special that will please you.

After that disastrous turn of events on Monday I said forget it..."I'm packing it in" and I did just that. I boxed up all the paints, brushes, textures and papers that I'd pulled out in preparation for my BIG sabbatical and stored them away. And that's when I went into what I call a 'baby blue funk". For 36 hours I sat around having myself one honker of a pity party. That's when I heard it. The whisper I'd been waiting for. It said to do something that I didn't think I had the talent for or the energy to accomplish. Didn't take more than 45 minutes to figure out what that was.

It was 22 years ago this month that my family and I moved into this house. The house wasn't my first choice but it was within the budget and I agreed to go along with the purchase if DH would do just one thing. Paint the master bedroom and bath something other than the hideous Navy Blue wallpapered walls that it was then and still is sporting.

Well, of course, you know the ending to that story already. For 22 years I've begged, screamed, ragged on and pestered my husband to get out the brushes and paint and make it WHITE! I figured that plain white would be better than living in a navy blue cave. Well of courses it never happened and never will, by his hand at least. So after making a list of possible items I might need I went in search of said items in my storage areas.

Sure enough...I had a 2 1/2" brush that I'd bought to do some paste paper with and a quart of white paint that was supposed to be put on window trim somewhere in here. And I also found an over the toilet storage unit that DH somehow never got around to putting together along with a fixture I'd pulled from the curb one garbage day and an old medicine cabinet I thought might work. Here's the cabinet and light that will be replaced this week:

In those moments of quiet contemplation I thought I must be out of my mind since the whole house makeover that I was planning could not happen without money. But the universe doth provide for those eager or stupid enough to believe it will and I've since fallen heir to three gallons of white, one gallon light mossy green and one gallon of fairyland aqua! Four of these gallons courtesy of my professional house painter Nephew, Matthew Lang. This poor, sad bucket will also find its way onto my walls.

My first project was of course the smallest. The master bath which I decided should reflect the look of a Tuscan toilette at sunset as the last rays of warm yellow sunshine kiss the walls. So with some lace and fabric and texturizing paste I started slapping on some lumps and bumps that I could paint over and then glaze.

The project is only half finished because I had to beg DH to use his 6'7" body to paint the ceiling I had no way of reaching. It took him 15 minutes with a roller and paint can. Hmmmmmmmmmmm...22 years to get him to spend 15 minutes working on the house...ok...can you tell that I'm still pissed at him :) Here's the proof of my words via pictures...they are all worth a 1,000 words.

My next post will show the finished bath, and perhaps the beginning of yet another project. I may not be stretching my creative muscles...yet...but I am getting done things I never thought I should or could accomplish. God Bless you all...have an amazing and creative week! Oh, and don't forget the contest. Just leave a comment on this post and you could win that perfect little angel!


  1. Hi Carolyn,

    I just stumbled across your blog the other week, don't remember how, but I am really interested in reading your sabbatical updates! I too am an artist, and am in the process of trying to find *my* artistic voice.

    And I think you did indeed stretch your creative muscles with your remodeling projects! It came out in a different form than a painting would, but it's still creativity. I like how you listened to your whispers!


  2. I'm no artist, but environment definitely plays a part in influencing my thought processes and creativity. Could this be a case of 'first things first' for you at the sub-conscious level? Anyway -- enjoy!

  3. You can move mountains with a spoon if you just have the Time And the Drive :)
    I wish you all the luck with your remodeling :)