I released a mini painting today (via Creative Release), at a public coffee shop in Idyllwild, CA. This little painting became an exercise in “letting go” beyond the physical act of leaving it behind for someone to find. It began as a rough sketch of a woman about to shed her shawl, and as I looked at her imperfection settling onto the canvas, I could see she was out of proportion. Her butt was big, and the top half of her was not proportioned to her bottom. Chuckle. Like looking in a mirror, I teased myself. But sadly I thought, isn’t this often the self-defeating mantra of so many women who criticize their bodies while looking into a mirror. Or is it society’s war cry against the luscious variety in women? Men and women both holding women to increasingly unrealistic standards of “accepted” physical appearance, shape and size. Or was it simply my own inner critic whispering in my ear, impatiently critiquing a work in progress?
Butt’s too big. Top too small. Hair is…pink? Woman, artist, or society? Which one dares to threaten my plea for perfect imperfection?
In a secret act of defiance against my inner critic, I decided to leave the painting as is, with no more effort to “fix” the scale of proportion *whimper.* I even considered it a small personal victory in my creative journey, to put something out there I felt was unfinished and full of mistakes Hey, that’s like me again! But on the drive home, my victory grew smaller because I realized while I was trying to make a statement about imperfection (by being imperfect), I had also attached a short explanation of my intent to the painting! It included the thought that allowing imperfection to exist somewhere is good for our character and acceptance of each other (I believe this). I defeated my big message when I made a preemptive strike against the FEAR of someone criticizing my work the way I had criticized it already. The thought, I know this woman is a little wonky, but see how I meant to do that? only qualified my lack of confidence.
I let it go. Literally–I left my generously round-bottomed pink woman dancing in a little painting behind, with the hope she will simply end up in appreciative hands. In the end it all came back to the premise: we are unfinished, convoluted works in progress. Humans are beautifully wonky, ever evolving works in progress. This imperfect experience was my progress today.
What are your thoughts?