Sister Marie Therese, an ancient French nun, was the art teacher at our convent school.
She was very keen on us copying and seemed to have a large supply of chocolate boxy 1930’s style pretty pictures for us to chose from, which is odd considering her own art work. (See blog The Nun, Picasso and Me.)
One day whilst happily copying an idyllic thatched cottage featuring a little cat beside a bowl of milk, Sr Marie Therese did her rounds of our desks and declared
‘Zat painting eez finished.’
‘But Sister, the cat is terrible!’ I replied.
‘No Kirsten, it eez finished. Only God is perfect. Ze cat must be bad to make the rest of the painting good. Stop now’
My fourteen year old brain was rather confused by this odd statement and horrified by the cats spindly legs and tail, but dutifully packed away my paints.
Now having just ruined a very large canvas of four cheetah in my search for perfection, her words came back to me. Why did I think the painting was not good enough? I had liked it for a year and then suddenly changed it dramatically because something was not quite right. Maybe that something was just my own thinking!
Today I will have another ‘go’ at the said painting and by the end, if I can resolve the mess, it will be a totally different painting to the one that I tried to perfect. Dah!
So Sister’s lesson is perhaps to beware perfectionism and not good enoughism to allow a channel to flow through. Accept your painting will never be perfect and let go to humbly enjoy the fun of painting in the perfect moment now.