A complete work in progress
For 25 years this painting has hung on the wall in my dining room. From time to time, I stop and look at it with admiration. I challenge myself to answer "why do you love this painting," at least once a year. I always come back with the same answer.
Above and beyond its colors (truly superior to what my iPhone captured above), brushwork and sheer size - over six feet across - this painting is to my eye both perfectly complete and a work in progress. It conjures up positive feelings and thoughts associated with:
Waystations, masterpieces and tradeoffs
The metaphor of art, life or a task as a work in progress is nothing new. What interests me is the hope - or more the belief - that we can enjoy ourselves as we move along the continuum from rough sketch to final product. Unfinished is often a waystation on the way to the final destination.
Perfectionists often stop themselves from doing things unless they can get them exactly right. They often see unfinished or imperfect as a failure. But they do dream of, and sometimes create, masterpieces.
On the other hand, others have a high tolerance for not needing things to be perfect, and can be perfectly satisfied with making something as good as it can be given the time or energy available for the task at hand. I call this making a tradeoff.
And the most perfect scenario is someone with a high degree of perfectionism and a well developed sense of getting it done.
If you want to accomplish something new in art, life or task, set up a coaching session with me, Coach Minda (514-791-4506). My clients include artists, professionals and business people and many face the same challenges of completing works in progress.
15/2/2015 02:39:49 am
As an artist, I found your post today especially interesting! I think you hit the nail on the head. "...both perfectly complete, and a work in progress." That's what makes each of us individuals, with a story.
16/2/2015 09:13:38 am
In kinder moods, it would be good to experience ourselves as both complete and a work in progress, shaping ourselves into our finest work! I look for images/photos of works of art that might inspire a blog. Feel free to send one and I'll try to use it!
15/2/2015 03:13:56 am
You have beautifully captured a core tension in each of our psyches that also manifests - I am a consultant - in the workplace in group projects.Some people are very comfortable with moving ahead on a task or project "knowing" that they can adjust if it turns out they have made mistakes, but that to get moving has tremendous advantages. Others also "know" that getting it right means that you don' make dumb mistakes and have to redo a lot of work. Finding the actual balance and the perceived balance is critical to success in one's own life and the workplace. I wonder if there are ideas to how integrate/apply these difference perspectives in both the individual and social sphere. By the way the picture is beautiful - partially the colors and shading - clear enough to be present/strong, but vague and shadowy enough to still be darkened and sharpened.
16/2/2015 09:28:37 am
Yes, in a workplace, these core tensions can create havoc! Do you think talking about these perspectives within a group, might be helpful? Would it lead to more sensitivity or appreciation? Less antagonism? It might not solve the essential - how do we do this, but it might lessen the intensity. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Charles Levin psychoanalyst
16/2/2015 02:13:43 am
Dear MInda, like Helen and Jordanna, I love the paradox of a perfectly complete work in progress. One very important element of the aesthetic aspect of this, which you capture at the very beginning of your blog, is the idea that in this (wonderful) painting, there is still a sense of how it emerged, that the process of making it is somehow contained in the final result; that this one thing we are looking at is actually an evolving perspective; that it is still reworking itself in an ongoing process. Of course the painting is "done," and it is hanging on the wall, finished. Yet you have evoked the intuition that it is still in a state of transformation, as if it never stops being painted! I think this is a lovely idea, worth developing. We might well wonder what it says about the process of living itself, and the feeling that so far we have done or not done certain things. What is our memory of what we call "the past"? In one sense, all we have experienced or not experienced, accomplished or not accomplished, so far in our lives, until this moment, is "done," "over" . . . but in another sense "what happened" is still taking shape, at some other level . . .
16/2/2015 10:14:30 am
Perhaps, personal transformation requires us to accept the parallel existence of being both a "work in progress", (improving, changing, getting better) and being "completely perfect", (in spite of our shortcomings and imperfections). I can live with this idea.. Thanks again Charles.
16/2/2015 02:02:38 pm
Reading this, I thought about the "process", versus the "end"; Travel for the journey or for the destination; art for the making of the art or for the piece of art that we make. Both the getting there and the being there are important, and I think we somehow choose what's important to us at the time. But I also think that we often lose sight of the process, and focus only on the end result, possibly missing an important part of the whole.
17/2/2015 06:03:45 am
I agree that trying to be present in the doing and in the getting there (wherever that may be) is important to our well-being. Projecting to far out in the future, skips out much in the present. As you say, sometimes the journey and sometimes the endpoint feels important and we choose according to where we are at... thanks Miriam
16/2/2015 02:54:22 pm
Beautiful music, beautiful painting and beautiful words too in the sense that they also strive towards reflecting a whole reality.
17/2/2015 06:17:41 am
I'm glad to hear from people I don't know who appreciate the blogs, the music and want to share their thoughts! Your post makes me think about the idea of duality - that the existence of two aspects - light and dark, stillness and movement or in the case of this music, (which I'm listening to in the background) can be both mournful and uplifting. This is the nature of things.
17/2/2015 04:00:55 am
As a facilitator, I adore observing team members resolving the tension to move the organization from status quo to a new, improved invented reality. Often this entails the team developing generative knowledge to replace the outdated programmed knowledge that cannot enable the new reality.
17/2/2015 06:26:35 am
I'm so glad you enjoy helping people move out of their comfort zone and find such pleasure in being part of this process. It is exciting when people make the leap of faith towards the - not so known future.I don't think I ever made a conscious connection between the bowls, food and sustenance. Isn't that strange? Thank you Richard
Leave a Reply.
My family, relationships, movement, nature, flexibility of mind, exploration of alternative perspectives & openness are central to my life.