Friday, February 22, 2013

Mediocrity... And All Its Benefits

I didn't paint this
But I love it!

By JccKeith

I feel bad.  I haven’t written anything in days.  That may not be a big deal for some people but for me it means something is really, seriously wrong.  Here lately, if I’m not writing it is because I am painting some vision associated with something I’ve written.

Having the ability to draw really well and paint semi-well or at least acceptably well are sometimes envious skills.  Other times they are more trouble than they are worth.  Most times, being able to draw and paint better than your average kindergartener or even third grader serves to be the envy of your friends.  When it comes to impressing yourself on the other hand, that is an entirely different story.

I am by far my harshest critic.  I suppose there are plenty of people out there who are worse but I don’t know them.  I have the benefit of having friends who are too polite to point out any flaws in my work.  I realize that my painting is amateur.  Such is obvious to any art lover or anyone familiar with artwork in any respect. 
Monet painted this 
I don’t pretend to be the next Van Gogh or Monet.  So that begets the question, why do I paint my own pictures rather than filch pictures off the internet?  Those who know me ask this question constantly. 

They point out that I could post things much faster in relation to my show Rogue Mission if I just gathered pics off the internet rather than take the time to paint my own.  I agree with their point that there are thousands of cool, interesting and unique pictures on the internet that would go along with my show.


Now, in my defense, and to those who have read my posts on this site, I do use pics off the internet frequently.  I use them when I am writing about anything other than my show or my novel or my personal writings.  Alright, technically that Valentine’s Day poem I posted was my personal work and I used some pics I found on the internet but in my defense, I didn’t feel like taking any pictures of rotten grapes I had thrown out hours before.  Deal with it.

Back to more important issues.  I have spent the past few days in turmoil.  Really, turmoil is a little strong but it was the only word that came to mind.  To be clear, my house was hit with yet another plague and there was some dental surgery involved coinciding with the plague and I had to keep the surgery beneficiary away from all those infected to prevent him from becoming ill. 

All week, I have had this desire to write and to paint and neither the time nor the energy to do either.  The problem with these desires is that while I know the writing will meet my high standards, I know the painting will not.  I write easily and fluently.  Things just come to me and while I am a stickler for grammar and editing as I write, I find it easy to accomplish – when I am inspired.

Title: Waterfall Castle Matte Art
Artist: fstarno
It is the painting I find difficult. There are a few things I paint well.  Straight lines, houses, castles, faces, hands and feet are not among them.  Anything with fine details is beyond my expertise.  Now when drawing such things, I can detail in detail and nail it.  It is the painting that is difficult.  Maybe I don’t have the right brushes.  Maybe I don’t have the technique.  Maybe I simply lack the talent. Whatever.  The point is I am aware of my limitations.  This doesn’t mean I don’t try.

And here in lies the problem.  Having a vision of what you want is a benefit and a curse.  The fact that I can paint much of my vision compels me to paint what I see for my story.  No matter how many people tell me I should just find pics on the internet.  I try to explain to them why I can’t just use other people’s pics. 

I refuse to give up my vision so easily and without a fight.  I have, in my mind, a vision of exactly how the lead character looks.  I even have a picture from the internet of a guy I feel looks similar.  This guy has many of the same features and body structure.  But he is not exactly what I see for my character.

There is just something about the idea that my story, my characters and my universe is unique that prevents me.  I can see the characters and the worlds and other assorted things in my mind.  Being slightly or greatly different from things that exist in our universe, I refuse to accept pics of things already in existence in our reality.

This all comes back to my deep desire for perfection set squarely against my more recent and laid back adopted attitude of accepting mediocrity.  I have to ask myself what is truly important.  Is portraying what I see in my mind for my worlds and my characters more important than offering perfected, photo-shopped pictures?  Am I willing to offer slightly different versions of my ideas because they are perfect?  Or do I want to offer mediocre versions of my ideas because they are mine?

Honestly, when it comes to my work and my ideas, I am quite my own problem.  I have spent the last few days, the few hours I have had that is, painting and re-painting two faces.  I have painted and re-painted my lead character’s faces so many times I am surprised the canvas is still intact.

My Vision For A Lead Character
I have such a clear vision of these characters that I just can’t see them any other way.  Unfortunately, I lack the ability to paint their eyes and their facial features to my own liking.  So I paint them and I paint them again and then I paint them again and again.  No matter how hard I try, I am just not gifted enough to paint exactly what I want.  I also cannot settle for black and white drawings.  I want color.  So they must be painted.

One of my actual paintings of one of
my lead characters
I settle at last, for original mediocrity.  While I know that my paintings are mediocre, they are at the very least, original.  They are my hands painting what I see in my mind.  I value originality over perfection.  Originality to me at least, is more important than anything perfected to the extent that it fits some pre-determined mold of how something should be.

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