Sunday, December 16, 2007

Stepping Through the Door: Perfection or Adventure?

"The Yellow Door" - Image c 2005 Lynda Lehmann

Alyson B. Stanfield in her recent post, "Deep Thought Thursday: Perfection and the artist" in ArtBiZ Blog, addresses the idea of perfection in art.

My response to her post is that I gave up the idea of "perfection" long ago, both in my art and in my housekeeping!

For me, making art is an ongoing and infinite experience, and "perfection" implies stasis or an "end point," as in the idea of a fixed and specific goal. To me, art is neither. Making art is a dynamic and joyous experience, a process of discovery in which passion is balanced with restraint, to create something that didn't exist before. Take the discovery out of it, and you might as well be folding laundry!

Every work, whether it be painting, writing, or music, can be taken in a thousand directions. So nothing can really be called "finished," let alone "perfect." Living is not absolute; neither is making art.

Thanks, Alyson, for stimulating my thinking on this!

How do you, my blogging friends, experience your own creativity? Do you equate it with some pinnacle of achievement or finite definition of perfection, or do you look forward to stepping through the door into an adventure, and welcome the uncertainty that accompanies artistic exploration?

If you would like to see more of my Italy shots, please visit my primary site at Image and text c Lynda Lehmann.

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  1. Wow Wow!! what an inspiring picture! Wonderful commentary. Its all about rediscovering one's own self in every little creation that unfolds. Quoting Lao Tzu
    "Perfect straightness looks bent.
    Extreme skill looks clumsy.
    A brilliant speech sounds like stammering."
    -Lao Tzu

  2. merging point, you always make such interesting and wise comments, that give me food for further thought! clearly, you are a thinker. (what better thing to be, than a full human being who uses INTELLIGENCE in living?)

    thanks for sharing your thoughts with me! (and those great quotes, of course...)


  3. 17, 2007 at 4:30 AM

    Very good perspective in this shot.

  4. Thank you for your appreciations Lynda. may i say, thinking is like a narrow pathway, contemplating is The endless ways to the unknown! Yours is one such way, my Dear! Love treading....

  5. Thank you, Lynda very much for visiting my blog and for your nice comments. I found your blog is wonderful. I have seen so many beautiful photos there that I really was enjoying while looking at them. And this photo of yours is also beautiful. The light on the bottom of that narrow hall makes the photo more warm and comfortable for looking.
    As for the question you asked I have to say I have never thought about that. I sometimes use to say “it’s perfect” for something I am delighted with as an enthusiastic exclamation. But, what really is perfect for me is the beauty of nature; the beauty which God created. All other things are our striving for perfection or our trying to do something better.

  6. OK lynda!
    I have seen all your pages...
    I would want to show in my blog this pick meravilious:
    "The Yellow Door" and
    "African Violet"
    writing the book review and sending back to your blog..
    You what of tasks that?

  7. Okay, Hanna! I am honored that you want to do this!

    I will still do the post about architecture in Italy at another time, but I put "The Yellow Door" on this time, because I thought it went well with the subject I was writing about.

    Thank you for looking at my pages and for thinking of me for your blog! :-)

    I will send you two JPGs later if you give me your email. For privacy, you can send it through my Contact page at, and I'll send you the JPGs (if you need them--let me know!)

    Or, maybe you just intend to link to my posts, instead?

    Thank you, dolce Hanna! (I THINK "dolce" means "sweet," no?)

    Have a wonderful day! :-)

  8. chiaroscurro, thank you for commenting. i love all the halls and arches and alleyways in italy. a "door" there seems to carry more importance than a regular door as we usually think of it: just an entrance with a limited function. i think a door like the one in this shot should be called a "portal." there is such an aesthetic to it, it seems it MUST carry a metaphor!

  9. marging point, i love contemlating the unknown, for it is there in the unknown, that insight is born.

  10. medam, i say that too, sometimes, to express excitement or satisfaction with something. but really, i think that nothing is perfect. it is all relative to the perception of the viewer. and it also changes with time and conditions--so there is, to me, no such state as "perfect," as if some set of conditions could be fixed in time....

    thanks for the discussion! ;)

  11. Nice shot :)

    Haven't really thought about your question. I just take up my camera and let things happen. It is very important to me to not stress while photographing and just follow the flow, if you know what I mean.

    Just started studying how to draw. I wonder if that will be different.

    -Thomas of Photos from Northern Norway

  12. Hello Thomas and thanks for commenting. I like to let the flow happen too, but when I'm learning new skills, I'm not ready for the creativity to flow out of it because at those times, I'm focused more on technique!

    I have so much to learn in Photoshop, Painter, and in my real-time pigment painting, and all of these take so much time. At least I can let the flow happen within the range of skills I have.

    Good luck learning to draw! Will you post some of your drawings along the way?

  13. Such a beautifully intriguing photograph so appropriate for this discussion. I suppose for me, if I have to "think" too much than my creativity is stifled. A work has to come from that place somewhere deep inside of me... that place without words... If I tap into that, then my creativity thrives. Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

  14. Cindy, I feel the same way. When I work, it comes from an intuitive place and words rarely come into play, except in as far as my eye may tell me, for instance, "more blue" or "darker shadows."

    Often when I work, I get so lost in it, especially painting, that I almost lose "sight" of my canvas completely, and just go by a gut feeling.

    Really, it's a myterious process that overtakes us!

  15. Hi Lynda,
    Creativity is an ongoing process. It's the way the imagination bends and curves and fills the corners of our mind. It's reaching into the abyss and pulling out life in an effort to replicate the stars in our Soul. Creativity is also an expression of God's desire and our willingness to fulfill it and as we evolve so does our creativity.

  16. Lynda,

    Getting a chance to stop by and check out your blog. I must say that from what I have seen here, you present excellent work and superb dedication. I'm sure that I will find much more beauty within your archives - and on your other blogs/websites..:)

  17. Wow, Alexys, I love what you said:
    "It's the way the imagination bends and curves and fills the corners of our mind. It's reaching into the abyss and pulling out life in an effort to replicate the stars in our Soul." That is so wonderfully poetic and inspiring!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject! You must be a poet... :)

  18. Deborah, thanks so much for stopping by. Come back and visit soon!

    Again, I hope your mom is doing better and is not too down about her condition.

  19. Lynda this is beautifully said, and to me your art is perfect no matter what. A perfect to me means something that I see and brings joy to my heart. In general, I don't think perfection can be really defined, but I will give a crack at it, I think it is the state and condition of the object combined (perception) with our internal connection (inner feeling), where one can see a beauty and perfection. Lynda this post should get an award, very interesting and inspiring. Anna :)

  20. Anna, thank you for your kind words. Yes, it's amazing how our perception and passion act on an object or scene to find in it, or to extract the beauty, from it.

    It makes me very happy that my post held some meaning for you!

    Thank you again, Anna. :)

  21. such a glorious photo and wonderful response to "perfection" Lynda !!

    all I expect from my art is that each new piece is better than the last .....and if it is then I am happy.....if it's not ...I usually paint over it or delegate to my storeroom....
    I am a perfectionist....and being so each new work is a step towards that one perfect work....(which of course I may never paint....)

    the process of creation cannot be measured is perfection in itself....

  22. Kim, I agree with you that we should strive always to do better than we did before. I freely compete with MYSELF in this way, and not with others, as we all have our particular slant/vision/creative spark to give.

    And the process is SOOOO important! I don't have it now, because I'm doing a lot of non-painting tasks in getting ready for my show. I feel I've already lost my identity as a painter, and can't wait to get back to it!

    I wrote a post for my Absolute Arts blog about "process," that was published on Creativity Portal, if I remember correctly. Maybe I'll post it here...

    PS - What's the point of having Technorati if we can't ping it? lol...

  23. ein stimmungsvolles Bild mit perfekter Raumaufteilung, Kompliment!

  24. Guten tag, Rolf, und danke schoen fur der/die/das(?)komplment.

    Ich habe sechs jahre Deutsch studiert in der hochshule, aber das war viele Jahre fruhe! Auf einmal ich konne ausgeziechnet in Deutsch sprechen!

  25. I love this photo, Lynda. It reminds me of one I took of our exchange student on the day of her wedding in Quito, Ecuador, as she emerged from the bedroom where she prepared and started down the hallway. Your photo is beautiful in its own right, but it brought back a wonderful memory for me as well.


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