Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Perfect Fall Day + New Art

I think that today was as close to the most perfect autumn day as you can get.  The morning started off gray with a misting rain, making it easy to cozy up with a cup of tea for some sweet, sweet God time.

The perfect fall day

Then the early afternoon blossomed into sunshiny brilliance, with lingering storm clouds chasing each other across swaths of blue sky. 

The perfect fall day

The temperature didn't reach much higher than 50*F, but even with the blustery wind it did not feel overly cold outside.  It was, to me, perfect.

The perfect fall day

When I tried to take photos, I was sadly reminded that my camera lens is not wide enough to capture just how BIG the day felt.  I think I forget and am reminded of this every year when fall blows in.  I love this season.

Amidst all the autumnal perfection, I worked on an artistic creation I started over the weekend. I was away at a women's retreat through my church, and this is what happened as I sketched away to the sound of a friend serenading us with her guitar and beautiful voice:

In Progress

Today I worked more on this piece. As the original drawing experience had been so blissful, and because the day felt so delicious, I expected the second phase of the piece to be as enjoyable. Instead, however, I felt frustrated most of the way through. Part of this was due to the fact that I was using my watersoluble crayons for the first time. But the rest?

After I was finished I was able to pinpoint the greatest cause of my frustration -- perfectionism. I had forgotten my decision to simply "show up and see what happens" with all of my artistic endeavors. As a result, with this piece I was constantly criticizing myself -- "Why isn't the background working the way I want it to?" "Why can't I blend this more perfectly?" "This doesn't even look like my work. I'm such a copy cat."   Oops.

Still, I really like the finished product. It [mostly] makes up for my yielding to perfectionism:


But today's art-making was also a good reminder to keep things simple -- to show up and see what happens. Period.

(By the way, the words in the girl's purple hair read "The people of God will sing a song of joy," which is from Isaiah 30:29.  I wanted to make something appropriate for a Christmas card.  It'll be making an appearance in my Etsy shop soon!)

Are you prone to give in to perfectionism? How do you fight it off?  And -- what is your version of a perfect fall day?  :)


  1. I can totally relate to the perfectionism you talk about ... story of my life! I think what I like about art is how it often isn't perfect. I find it refreshing to enjoy something that has character. That is not to say that I haven't been frustrated my work ... I've actually finished a piece and threw it away. I don't suggest doing that, but for me I went ahead and finished it which was at the time the bigger task. I when I create something that I hate, I tell myself I need to create the ugly to make room for the beautiful. :)
    I can also relate to the feeling of "copying" I'm still trying to find MY style and there are times especially when drawing the whimsey girls that they often do look very similar ... the thing with that is, humans look similar and that you cannot really change. You will certainly add your own touches which will come with ease over time. I'm learning how to blend with the water soluble crayons and watercolor pencils. The tutorials make it look SOOO easy, but I too struggle with it. There is so much learning (soul searching) that goes into creating :)

  2. I am really loving this new blog! I don't do art but, as always, you inspire me to delve into my creative side.
    I love that you used that verse because you originally sketched that while your friend was singing!

    I also really love the stars.

  3. @ Missy ~ Thank you so much! I'm glad you visited me here. :)

  4. @ Julie ~ Thanks for sharing your story...is it weird that I find it encouraging? :P I'm not encouraged by the fact that you struggle, but by the fact that I'm not alone in MY struggles (and you're not alone in yours!). I guess we're not as different from one another as we like to think... ;)

    I've talked with an artist friend of mine about feeling that my whimsical girls are like everyone else's whimsical girls. She pointed out to me that many of the famous "great artists" painted similarly, and sometimes created almost identical pieces...and yet we don't think they're any less awesome. She was talking specifically about the Impressionists. I don't know if I'm ready to compare myself to Monet, but it was certainly an interesting way to look at it!

  5. I think the same is true for many art forms ... Music and Movies especially! Think about cover bands, their entire goal is to sound JUST like another band. I know for me I feel like all the great ideas have been taken or discovered and now I'll never be able to come up with a twist on the ordinary or even be able to sell anything (some day) because it is just like somebody else's work.
    Well the other day I sat down with an open note book and just started jotting down everything that makes me smile or something I just love or resonates with my soul. I created an impressive list and I'm starting to use that as my inspiration to create from ME.
    In essence everyone learns from someone :)

  6. Thanks for your thoughts, Julie! I like your idea of making a list of what delights you...that sounds like a powerful way to discover your preferences, and even your style. I'll have to try it!

  7. Mandy Saile of Bijou's WhimsyOctober 13, 2011 at 8:17 AM

    Fall reminds me of new beginnings possible more than spring or summer somehow...I think it's partly the lovely coziness fall imparts, it reminds you to be kind to yourself.

  8. Mandy, I think what you said is so true -- there is a special sense of expectancy about fall! Oh I love this season.


"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King