The beauty of imperfection is a constant theme that has been part of my painting practice for many years now. I've probably even written about it before, but it has come up again for me this week. Some may think that surrendering to imperfection is an excuse to not strive for perfection. That accepting imperfection is a kind of laziness of sorts, but for me, this practice of art making has helped me to resolve that not only is accepting imperfection in life a practice of finding peace, but that imperfection is truly a thing of beauty.
I wonder how many times in life we are called to keep learning the same lessons. As I say, I discovered years ago that I love imperfection more than perfection…
I love an old wall with layers of paint that flake and blend together, peeling posters with interesting text and graphics.
I love visits to a friend who doesn’t tidy their home before you arrive, because they know you well enough that you won’t care.
I love impromptu social events that feel so free and comfortable because nothing was planned so anything goes.
I was watching the coronation of King Charles on the TV last night and though there was a lot about this occasion that was beautiful in its precision and planning, I felt that for me it seemed to lack something of the human experience. Everyone was so proud of how ‘well-behaved’ the small children of the royals were, but part of me wished Charles would have smiled at his grandchildren on the way past or that it would have been okay for Prince Louis to call out ‘Hey Grandad!’ and waved as he received his crown. Do such occasions always have to be solemn? I don't know...wouldn't it be lovely to see them having fun?
In a world where technology is increasingly excelling at producing technically accurate ‘creations’, surely we need to recognise and appreciate the imperfect beauty of the human experience and what that still has to offer us. We hide ourselves from the world because we don’t fit into the expectations of a ‘perfect’ life. We don’t take part in family photos because we don’t like how we look or perhaps we don’t invite friends over to our homes because our house doesn’t live up to the houses pictured on Pinterest. When we are skinny enough, or our homes have finished that reno, then we will start to live, but that moment of perfection never arrives, so perhaps we have to find the joy in now..those small imperfect moments.
It's me, Hi! I'm the problem it's me
This week I had a revelation, when sitting in my studio…most thoughts come there, that I am afraid to post a video of myself speaking on my Instagram because I don’t like my speaking voice and that I don’t feel I have anything interesting to say that anyone would want to listen to. That idea has held me back on so many occasions from perhaps growing further in my life and art practice. In that moment I decided to record a short clip of myself, sitting in my untidy space; my hair was a mess after walking in the rain that morning and I had on next to no makeup. I realised in that moment that I am now 53 and really things are not going to get better. What am I waiting for? If not now, when? I posted that clip on my stories…you can see it in my Insta highlights if you are interested, but it was very simple and definitely imperfect. If I’m honest I did feel like throwing my phone across the room in that moment after I pressed send, but I stuck with it and the most beautiful thing happened.
I received SO many wonderful messages in my DMs from online friends sending their encouragement or sharing how hard they also find it to share a video, a photo of themselves or their artwork and that my posting that random video had perhaps inspired them to also put themselves out there a bit more. We are so lucky to part of this wonderfully supportive art community…you are beautiful people. I did not expect to feel so moved by doing this. You have inspired me to be braver in my sharing. I am feeling a freedom that I have unknowingly been craving for a long time. Nobody really cares what we look like or how we sound. Most of us are worrying about all the stuff going around inside our own heads. I think people are longing for you to shine your light in all your beautiful imperfection, so that they feel it is okay to shine their own.
Nothing in my life is perfect, but to me it is very beautiful and that’s all that matters x