I have been working on a landscape over the past few weeks as a commissioned piece. It’s a big one, 4 feet by 3 feet and I have to admit, I was a little intimidated at first, staring at the blank canvas before me.  A white sheet of paper, the first page in a new sketchbook, a blank (huge) canvas….the potential they all possess is outstanding. Literally anything could happen….there is so. much. possibility. Not only is that fact scary, but almost in and on itself sets you up for failure. Not failure in the way you feel when you lose a race or get a F on a math test. More like failure to live up to your own standards, failure to compete successfully against yourself.

When I am trying to visualize what the end product of a painting or drawing will be, I have a certain image in mind. The fun, and often interesting part of the journey trying to reach that destination. I can have the entire piece planned out to a “t” and something invariably will veer me off course. Perhaps it’s a mistake, an added medium or a new discovery along the way. The painting changes drastically to accommodate whatever happened and this results in a piece of work that doesn’t compare to the image you painted in your mind. I am slowly learning to let this idea go, that I will never achieve perfection…in any facet of my life. It’s a hard lesson to learn and I have been facing it my entire life. It is also something that is constantly creeping into all parts of my day. Seeping in between conversations, oozing through cracks when you look in the mirror, creeping up on your own thoughts. I am trying to embrace imperfection, and have realized that something can be so delicately beautiful even with flaws…in fact its the flaws that actually make it beautiful. Mistakes make us human, more approachable, more ourselves. I will keep trying at this (and probably make a million more mistakes) and I don’t think I will ever completely master it, but I’m ok with that. I ended up covering the entire canvas with random marks and colors, and let these peek through here and there to add some intrigue.

This landscape is the northern view from Mt. Washington, NH up in the White Mountains.