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Perfectionism


#1

I’m a “lurker” who has posted only a few times, but enjoy the list and
the immensely. I had basically been ignoring the thread
on perfectionism because I’ve been in this business about 20 years and
have learned that NOTHING’s perfect.

But I read David’s post and just had to respond. David, you have the
entire thing in ONE short statement: “The first goal is to seek a
level of refinement that is appropriate to the context of the work.
No more, no less.” That’s IT! That’s the “golden rule”. I think that
I’ll make it into a sign and post it in my workshop.

And the other statement is just priceless and one I just HAVE to
remember: “Seeking perfection, as we’ve been talking about it, is akin
to looking in the handkerchief after you’ve blown your nose. Morbidly
fascinating, but usually disappointing and always in bad taste.”

David, Thanks for the enjoyable post. Bud Cravener


#2

I’m a “lurker” who has posted only a few times, but enjoy the list and
the immensely. I had basically been ignoring the thread
on perfectionism because I’ve been in this business about 20 years and
have learned that NOTHING’s perfect.

But I read David’s post and just had to respond. David, you have the
entire thing in ONE short statement: “The first goal is to seek a
level of refinement that is appropriate to the context of the work.
No more, no less.” That’s IT! That’s the “golden rule”. I think that
I’ll make it into a sign and post it in my workshop.

And the other statement is just priceless and one I just HAVE to
remember: “Seeking perfection, as we’ve been talking about it, is akin
to looking in the handkerchief after you’ve blown your nose. Morbidly
fascinating, but usually disappointing and always in bad taste.”

David, Thanks for the enjoyable post. Bud Cravener


#3

Back in the 60’s ( I believe before Picasso died) I was studying art
at the U. of N. Iowa. I was blessed with the opportunity to study
under Karl Umlauf, a painter who was showing internationally.His were
some of the most thought provoking discussions I ever sat in on. After
a long exploration of the finer points of professional brushes;
sables, squirrles, hog hairs, camels, etc., hand tipping, conditioning
and moreMr. Umlauf made his point. The difference between Picasso
and the rest of the painters was not his brushes, but what he did with
them. Picasso would paint a masterpiece with a toothbrush whereas
others could not with all the brushes in the world. I have since then
tried to apply this philosophy to all endeavors I undertake. Once I
was studying a huge Picasso painting in Cologne and lamenting about
the messy areas, spills, drips-How could anyone be so messy? Finally I
stepped back and viewed it as a whole. The mess disappeared and a
complete finished painting emerged. Perfection- far from it;
Picasso–Yes! Worthy of hanging in a museum- definitely! There are
many “perfect” paintings not worthy of hanging next th Picasso or the
other masters. This is the first time I have ever responded to anyone
on Ganoksin, I found your entry to be in this vein. Cary


#4

Nicely put, Cary;

I agree with the implicit message of your post. It’s not really the
technique, it’s the spirit. Picasso, driven by his great genius,
would have triumphed over technical limitations that most of us,
myself included, would have found at least daunting and I doubt he
ever even considered them. And more to the point, all the technical
finess of lesser artists can’t substitute for Picasso’s vision. You
bring up the essential point. Inspiration will drive all other
considerations towards it’s own design. Personally, I just do the
best I can, and while I’m at it, I take a little more time, fuss over
detail and finish just a tiny bit more, and over time, I’ve improved,
much like a weight lifter gets stronger by adding a little more weight
each time. (I doubt I’ll ever be a Picasso, but what about a
Sidhartha?). Now the question arises, for me: How far can we go
towards being the kind of artist Picasso was? Obviously, a genius
like Picasso comes along about once in a century, but how can we be
the best that we can be? How might we raise the level love for our
work? The common perception among artists (and their critics) is that
art is a process of suffering. We love that myth. . .Beethoven,
Michaelangelo, et. al. What fans your creative fires, Cary? Do you
think we should suffer? Picasso seemed not to, but I think he did at
the end.

David L. Huffman