In my daily work, I’ve segued from cutting twenty pages from a screenplay to doing some tedious reformatting , moving it from the old Word template I used years ago to Final Draft. I set a goal to do ten or twelve pages a day, which is about as much as the nerves in my right hand can stand. Every single line has to be clicked and designated as character, dialogue, action, etc. I even toyed with the idea of just retyping the entire screenplay, but I don’t think it would be any faster, and might even be more wear and tear on my body.
I’ve had to break up the work, with other projects to avoid my hand and my brain going numb. Since I’m spending so much time in the setting of this screenplay, St. Simons Island, and since it’s so cold outside, I’m painting from a few pictures I’ve taken of the island, feeling as if I’m the character, Aunt Laney, standing on the marsh bank in Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees.
Still hard on my hand, but a different action.
It’s been a long time since I used oil, and I still tend to want to use a watercolor technique, but hey, at least I’m getting my brush in the paint. I’m messy, but so far, no cats are walking around with rainbows on their sides. However there was an incident involving Wilbur jumping on my paint palette. A story for another day.
An artist friend and I were talking about how our attitudes have changed about painting. We’re letting go of all those rules we used to have that made us feel our work didn’t measure up unless it fit a list of criteria. For example, I’m mixing different grades of paint, something I would have never done back in the day. But if I don’t mix grades, I’m not going to paint, because I can’t justify the expense of buying all new professional level oils. I have to go one tube at a time. I’ve chosen not to let it bother me, as I try to let go of that internal perfectionism code which devalues anything less than the ideal. It still sometimes haunts me, but when I see those mixed paints on the canvas, I feel victorious.
I’m remembering the Nester motto, “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.”
I’ve found that perfectionism cripples, stunts, and judges. All those high standards we find impossible to meet, we project on others and fault them for not measuring up, too. We forget grace and we lose the potential for beauty.
Friend, maybe it’s time for you, also, to let go of all those silly rules you made up and just go for the beauty.
“And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish Thou the work of our hands for us—yea, the work of our hands, establish Thou it” (Psalm 90:17 KJV).