It's Called a "Practice," Not a "Perfect"

I'm not sure how I became an overachiever, but here I am, not yet 30, and I feel the weight of the world to be perfect, to be great, and to be everything to all people.

I just came across a quote by visual artist Joshua Hagler: "A good painter struggles his or her entire life trying to align the balancing act with intentionality."

More than intentionality, the phrase, "struggles his or her entire life..." jumped out at me.

This prompted a whole stream of thoughts. It's possible that I will practice art my whole life and never truly be satisfied with it. Recently, I've been working steadily on growing my skills, all the while thinking that I would come a point where I was pleased with it. I shouldn't say that - I AM pleased with what I do. That's part of the reason I make art; because it makes me happy.

Rather, I thought I would "arrive." I would have my style cemented, I would know exactly how to render each character and object, and I would have an acute sense of "YES, THIS IS IT."

I think I come across that enormously wonderful feeling of confidence only once every 50 pieces. That's not very often. But I think it's time for me to come to terms with the other reason that I make art: I'm making art because I don't have it all figured out.

Sometimes I shuffle back through my early pieces. I congratulate myself with my cleverness, to be able to bring to life on a page what I had swimming around in my head. Or I cringe a bit. Usually, what I thought was perfection then, I find flaws with now.

This is being human - fickle and unsure. It's easy to be this way. To want the destination, but be aggravated with the time it takes to make the journey.

Today was an epiphany. I don't need to be pleased with what I do now. I think I never will be completely satisfied. I can only continue telling my hands what to create, because this is a beautiful way to communicate with others.

And who likes "perfect" anyways? :-P

Marni Manning - Artist

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