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The beauty of imperfection

October 8, 2013

Els's apples 2    Oil on canvas board

Els’s apples 2
Oil on canvas board

This painting was started in the spirit of a 37 minute one, with the intention of working into it.

I enjoyed using the same fast approach, avoiding too much polishing. The discipline here is to find the balance between getting it ‘Right’ and letting it be. When you are limited by a 37 minute deadline with no opportunity to go back and correct, there is a better chance of a raw but honest painting. The catch when I do allow myself to work into it, is to let things that are ‘wrong’ stand anyway in service to the  whole. But there are degrees of ‘wrong’, so as usual, it is an ongoing discovery process.

This one was painted over a strongly textured painting I’d done years ago, I liked working on that rough surface and how it influences the overall texture.

I learned something important from working with Jovica Veljovic, type designer and calligrapher. He advised, when working on a piece of calligraphic text, to not try to make too perfect letters when you start the piece. That way, if anything went wrong later, it wouldn’t jump out so much. If there were irregularities in the strokes, let them be there. In that way, all the little natural flaws would add up to a consistent looking whole.

Trying to make too beautifully perfect letters usually results in dead work. But allowing imperfections makes personal, alive pieces. Eventually, I have found, all the small quirks in one’s own writing form a unique visual vocabulary and over time, infuse the work with one’s own signature.

Title for magazine article Walnut ink and reed pens, S. Zoutewelle

Title for magazine article           Walnut ink and reed pens,
S. Zoutewelle

It is the same with painting.

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6 Responses to “The beauty of imperfection”

  1. Jeanie Moran Says:

    It looks pretty damn good to me.


  2. the textured angles anchor the whole picture beautifully – will remember to apply that advice ‘a consistent looking whole’ to my activities

    • Sarah Zoutewelle Says:

      Thanks Laura. Your blog looks great. London is my second home, my mother was born there and I still have family there. I usually get over several times a year.

  3. decorartuk Says:

    Stunning! If I could use just one word to describe it, it would be – “tasty”. Yes, this is a tasty painting – the colours and the light, you’ve captured, are combined into a beautiful whole. So hurrah! to imperfections. K.

    • Sarah Zoutewelle Says:

      K, thank you so much! I like the idea of a tasty painting. Sometimes some of the colours all squeezed out do look good enough to eat. I had a good time working on this one, a prerequisite these days. One of my web friends described one of his painting processes as comparable to taking 4 months to pass a kidney stone. I can identify! and prefer to avoid same. ) S


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