I was raised with the concept that if you're not giving 100% all the time, if it’s not perfect, then it's not good enough.
And while perfection is a motivating force sometimes to achieve more and do more (& better), it's ultimately impossible to reach. Who defines perfection?
Over the past years, not only with my paintings, I have produced SO much content to... never put it out there.
Because in my head there was always that voice saying: ah that's not good enough. You could have done better.
But, hey, this is a good blog post. Keep reading!
A few years ago I signed up for an online course, and to my surprise, few days later I received in the post a thank you note from the course creator, Melyssa Griffin (you can look her up, few years ago she had classes on how to create online courses), and the postcard said: “it doesn't have to be perfect to be powerful”.
At that stage I had 2 courses ready but never published, because I thought they weren't good enough. Let alone all the “unfinished” artworks.
So when I read the thank you note I started crying.
"It doesn't have to be perfect to be powerful"
And let's be clear, if you've been raised with that mentality - first of all I'm sending you a little hug (if you want it 😊) - you know that perfection is not going to happen. Almost ever.
In the world of art, there's this thing where perfection seems to be the ultimate goal as well. To the point that it becomes a blocker for a lot of artists. If it can’t be perfect, why would you even bother creating? Right??
The great news for you is that true artistic growth and the discovery of a unique style often come from embracing imperfection. Yes.
By letting go of self-imposed expectations and allowing your authentic voice to emerge, you can find your true artistic style.
So, how can you let go, and embrace imperfection, unlocking your true creative potential.
Your own and other's.
To find your artistic style, it's crucial to release the burden of perfection and the expectations you place on yourself. Understand that art is a process, and not every piece needs to be flawless. Give yourself permission to explore, make mistakes, and learn from them. By freeing yourself from the weight of expectations, you open up space for true creative expression, and from there it becomes all a beautiful flow!
If you haven't seen Brené Brown's TED talk yet, then you MUST watch it (here). She says it much better, but: embracing imperfection requires vulnerability. It means being willing to expose yourself and your art, flaws and all, to the world. Vulnerability is not a weakness but a strength that allows for genuine connections with your audience. By embracing vulnerability, you create an authentic and honest artistic style that resonates you and with others as well.
Experiment and Explore
Letting go of perfectionism opens the door to experimentation and exploration. Try new techniques, mediums, and subject matters without the fear of failure. Allow yourself to play, make mistakes, and discover what truly resonates with you. Through exploration, you will uncover hidden gems and unique elements that contribute to your artistic style.
Sit down in your artistic space and play with colours, shapes, contrast... anything you like. And watch what happens!
Trust Your Intuition
Instead of seeking external validation, listen to your inner voice and follow your creative impulses. Trust your artistic intuition and instincts.
Allow your intuition to guide your artistic choices, color palettes, compositions, and themes.
By trusting yourself, you tap into your authenticity and develop a style that is true to who you are as an artist.
Unfinished is good
Ah the amount of canvases that never see the light of day!!
Recognise the beauty of unfinished art. Embrace the energy and rawness of unfinished work. It can serve as a catalyst for your artistic growth and contribute to the development of your unique style.
Embrace unexpected brushstrokes, the accidental drip of paint, or the slight asymmetry.
Instead of viewing them as mistakes, see them as opportunities for creativity and exploration. Embracing flaws allows you to create art that is uniquely yours, with its own distinct charm and allure.
Be kind to yourself
Embracing imperfection requires practicing self-compassion. Be kind to yourself throughout your artistic journey.
Celebrate your successes, no matter how small, and learn from your perceived failures. Remember that growth and artistic development take the time they need - or that you need.
Be patient and gentle with yourself as you navigate the path to finding your artistic style.
Be committed and know that not everyone will resonate with your art, and that's okay.
Embrace the journey, celebrate your uniqueness, and enjoy the process of finding your artistic style.