words I am savoring

I have been reading Molly Peacock’s book about the first collage artist titled The Paper Garden.  Besides being a fascinating biography and memoir, Ms. Peacock includes her own perspectives on topics that are true gems for reflection.  Here is one I am currently savoring:

“Great technique means that you have to abandon perfectionism.  Perfectionism either stops you cold or slows you down too much.  Yet, paradoxically, it’s proficiency that allows a person to make any art at all; you must have technical skill to accomplish anything, but you also must have passion, which, in an odd way, is technique forgotten. The joy of technique is the bulging bag of tricks it gives you to solve you dilemmas.  Craft gives you the tools for reparation.  And teachers give you craft, for a good teacher urges you beyond your childish perfectionism.  From there you proceed into the practice that eventually becomes expertise. “

What does it make you think about?

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7 responses to “words I am savoring

  • elsie

    It makes me think that those who pursue perfection miss out on lots of opportunities. Hmmm. . . good words to ponder.

  • pamelahodges

    Oh my. I think I will copy this and put it on the wall by my painting studio. I hesitate before my canvas, fearful of what the paint will do.
    Then I breath deep and just paint. Sort of like a first draft in writing. I will never write if I just think about it. If I only think about painting, nothing gets painted.
    “From there you proceed into the practice that eventually becomes expertise. “

    Hmmm, getting better at something by doing it.
    I like that.

  • Linda Baie (@LBaie)

    Well, it is something that wants reading more than once, Amelia. When reading it, I think of the magic that teachers conjure in their work, to bring students into the risk of trying new technique on the path to expertise. Thank you!

  • Juliann

    “Craft gives you the tools for reparation.  And teachers give you craft, for a good teacher urges you beyond your childish perfectionism”
    Love this!
    I want to be that teacher who urges others beyond perfectionism

  • Donna Smith

    And it goes for teachers also. Once they have the techniques conquered, let them go with their passion – teaching.

  • Katie - sistah

    What a great insight. This made me think about being a physical therapist – how you study so long and learn so much, and then find out that it’s never that simple. When I was a student in one of my clinical internships, I struggled with the evaluation of every patient. I would get so far, and then turn to my instructor to help me get past a hurdle. Finally, she just quit coming into the exam room. I had to get over my “childish urge for perfection” and just do it. But you need the skills first, and then the courage to be artistic and creative in applying them

  • fireflytrails

    Ouch! This hits home with me! How many things have I not finished- or not even started – because I was concerned I couldn’t do it just right? Thinking, not enough time, not enough talent, not enough insight. Childish perfectionism indeed. And passion as technique forgotten. I love this. Thanks for sharing and as always making me think!

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