I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying that opposites attract. When it comes to art, Andrew and I certainly meet that criteria. He paints in oils while I continue to embrace the lowly acrylic. He hand draws and paints all his colour and imagery, while I will steal from any collage source available. He paints figures which are proportionally and tonally correct, while my figures are anatomically challenged.
This is all because we perhaps seek opposites things from art. Andrew has a drive to paint the perfect image. He has complete ideas in his head which he aims to translate onto the canvas. My only drive is to express what I feel like expressing in that moment. Unfortunately that moment is often fleeting and consequently I have many pieces which have a slightly unfinished feel to them – such as this one. It’s been hanging around for a few weeks. The top of the painting is incredibly raw. I’m not sure there’s any paint up there… just collage material. After several weeks of floating around the art table, I’ve decided that it is finished even if that means it looks unfinished. I cannot recreate an idea that was a moment in time and, in this case, I cannot extend it because I don’t want to destroy that which is core to this piece.
This would drive Andrew batty. In fact in most areas of my life it would annoy me too. I hate doing a task at work and people seeing it half-finished. Even when things are complete, I will sometimes look back at them later and wonder what on earth possessed me to think that it was ‘good enough.’ Such is the way of the perfectionist. Art is one of the few places where I can buck that voice that says it’s not good enough and it’s not right. I think that is in part because Art has no right or wrong. It isn’t like sport where you either win or lose. Or like sewing a dress – it either hangs together and fits, or it doesn’t. Sure, in art, certain things seem more valued than others. (And if I were in a cynical mood I’d say that appears to be either skill, or bullshit, or both). But value is not right or wrong. And provided something can’t be wrong, then perfectionism loses for once and the older I get, the more delight I take in that.