Why are we so uneasy around imperfection…

Why are we so uneasy around imperfection or something we consider incomplete? This is true in art and in life. How do we and why do we judge a work in progress? We value the finished product but not the process. Artistic progressions are much more interesting to me because a work in process is filled with possibilities and opportunities yet to be realized. At any time, a new and exciting direction can take place that might not have been considered initially. Why rush to the finish when the journey is at hand. An unfinished painting sometimes possesses a more interesting image in its freshness and ambiguity than the actual final product. 

I admire artists that can exactly duplicate a still life or landscape right down to a blade of grass, but I cannot do that. Maybe because I possess an impatient personality but more likely or in addition to that I see shapes and forms in nature. A broader stroke so to speak. Shapes become visually apparent to me and the details fade away. Not all of the details but the fine details.

 I interpret what I see by using unusual colors to represent the usual. Seeing things in an unpredictable way is exciting to me but truly is simply how my brain works. Maybe it was those lazy summer days of my childhood spent identifying animals and forms in the cumulus clouds overhead with my brother that trained my creativity. Often in my paintings I use shapes as the vehicle to create form. When painting animals and humans I am compositionally charged with the responsibility to bring abstract shapes together to create images of flesh and muscle thus creating the traditional appearance of animals or humans.

This clearly is not a traditional painting method, but it is how I see my source material. When I approach a painting such as in my dance series, I see the movement of the body right away. I do not get caught up in the superficial image. More importantly and equally fascinating to me is understanding the movement of the spine, hands, arms, legs, feet and the tilt of a dancer’s head. All of this critical information lies beneath the skin’s layer. 

All humans physically function in exactly the same way. We must not get caught up in the superficial but instead expand to a broader interpretation and understanding.  The real workings of a person lie beneath the exterior layer of skin and skin color. As we venture inward and beyond the obvious, we have the opportunity to be delighted by a fellow human being. A new work in progress enhancing our own journey as we explore all of the possibilities…

The human condition applies to each and every one of us without exception…

I am just a human being trying to make it in a world that is rapidly losing its understanding of being human. John Trudell

Author: Elizabeth Ricketson

A graduate of Providence College with a BA in English, Elizabeth Ricketson has always had a love of literature and the fine arts. Elizabeth’s essays focus on life experiences and life in Vermont.

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