Three Shadow Boxes: Hummingbird with Datura, Hummingbird with Flowering Aloe Vera, Gold finch with Pomegranate


Do you consider yourself a perfectionist? Do others think you’re a profectionist?   Or do you proudly proclaim you are not one at all?  I am talking about as an artist…not a brain surgeon.

Is it bad to be a perfectionist?  That label kinda gets a bad rap.

During one of my classes recently,  a student nonchalantly said she was not a perfectionist.  It got me thinking.  First of all,  I don’t expect any of my students to do things perfectly or hold themselves to the standards I hold myself as a professional artist.  I typically expect my students come to me to learn something new.  It’s going to be awkward and some students will be fast learners and some will process slower.     We all at one time or another seem to want to have perfection the first go around and if not,  we may label ourselves as “not a perfectionist”.

IMG_4153 (1).jpg

I believe that we are all perfectly made and the way we process experiences are perfect at any level of learning.

We wouldn’t expect a child to be perfect when making art.  That is reasonable. When we create art, we are letting our child within  come out to play, discover, experiment and make mistakes even.  Children aren’t thinking about being perfect or not perfect.  They are just being.  That is the sweet spot.  As adults we should be able to do the same and we do unless there is someone next to us who whips up a Pieta, no problem.  Then we begin to doubt our capabilities.

 A little psycho-babble here, so humor me,  if you will.

One theory I have heard and tend to agree with, is this:

When we tell ourselves and others we are not perfectionist, we secretly are perfectionists  but we can’t for-see ourselves going the distance to make it perfect.    I wont even get into how your parents raised you. But that statement, “I’m not a perfectionist” disallows you to strive for perfection in the art experience.   It’s a standard belief we hide behind.

Another standard belief is “I’m a struggling artist” but I digress.

Generally, artists that zero in on one type of art, hone their skills, year after year, and become perfect at what they do.  So be it, they are perfectionists!

Michelangelo was a perfectionist, ( … a brainiac too) His work is perfect.   Look how long his masterpieces have stood the test of time. He had to start somewhere.  Like many other masters,  he put his time in as an understudy for artist, Francesco da Urbino, and others.

The Creation of Adam, Michelangelo

I am a seasoned artist. 

I don’t consider myself a perfectionist. Far from it.  But  someone else may think I am.

As a matter of fact,  I was drawn to clay because I didn’t have to be perfect in my interpretations.  But there was a time in my young profession I had several employees.  I required them to re create my work…”perfectly”.  That was my expectation at the time, but a wise old friend told me,  they didn’t have to be perfect, they just had to be good enough.

The point is, the art work becomes more perfect the more we do it. Patience goes along way.  The art evolves and keeps evolving.  We as artists evolve, change, grow and  improve.  Technique gets better, sense of color gets keener, before we realize it, we know our field extremely well.

I will tell anyone, student or not, “be encouraged”  have faith, believe in oneself and keep going. With practice comes perfection.

Hummingbird Vase Collection


I welcome any comments, insights you might have.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s