art | artist ideas | art resources | art education | perfectionismSo many people wait, afraid of writing something, drawing something, etc. because they should wait for that perfect moment or until they have enough experience.  I ask you, how will anyone achieve anything close to perfect if they never practice to reach it?!

People who we identify as successful have failed many more times than us.  But their persistence paid off and something finally worked, they finally achieved a skill, or reached the right audience.  I can’t begin to emphasize enough the importance of PRACTICE!

A great excerpt from the book: Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland (click on their names to read more about this book)

“The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups.  All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality.  His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weight the work of the ‘quantity’ group: fifty pounds of pots rated an ‘A’, forty pounds a ‘B’, and so on.  Those being graded on “quality” however, needed to produce only one pot – albeit a perfect one- to get an ‘A’. Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity.  It seems that while the ‘quantity’ group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the ‘quality’ group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a  pile of dead clay.”

I find this same experience to be true as an I.B. Visual Arts Teacher.  With IB curriculum, time and time again we read in our examiner’s notes that the students with the most research in their workbooks (a heavily involved planning and reflecting sketchbook) have the highest studio marks.  I feel like I am constantly drilling that into my students’ thick heads…they are trained to believe otherwise.  Why?  Because we keep pretending that perfection is possible and that achieving it is a gift, that it’s a rare and unattainable experience.  YET, the worldwide statistics on students taking the IB Visual Arts exam show that the more workbooks a student has, the more likely they will attain higher marks.

This is something that just drives me mad.  I want to shake each and every one of you until it truly sinks into your head: effort and practice create RESULTS.  Why do you think Olympic athletes train intensively before their performances or  matches?  Why would it be any different for writers, photographers, or painters!?  Let’s change this way of thinking together.  And when someone asks you how you got to be so successful?  Answer honestly: a little bit of luck, a lot of hard work and PRACTICE.  Perfection doesn’t exist, but improving and becoming successful at what you do can happen!

“The problem with perfectionism.” (Click to Tweet)

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: How often do you practice skills that will help you achieve your creative goals?  Time to get out that calendar and start making time.  New Year’s Resolution anyone?