The Importance of Being Quirky

Quirky brush lettering with a Pentel Brush Pen

I fully admit to being both a perfectionist and a workaholic.  I come by the traits honestly by both nature and nurture.  When I was a child my parents were as obsessive in their searches for perfection as their parents had been, but I recognize that most of what I am in my 5th decade of life is a choice. And so I applaud myself for those rare moments when I'm not being a raving perfectionist, when I can be happy with a creative endeavor simply because it was fun to do and not because I'm futilely trying to be Leonardo da Vinci. (Note: the questionable grammar of that last sentence might have been used intentionally to illustrate a point.)   

The energy and tenacity I put into nearly everything I do is quite exhausting, so if once in a blue moon I do something whimsical and expressive but not so technically kosher, I do crazy things like blast the effort all over Facebook, and those who would judge them harshly just don't get the joke.

In a 1999 interview with Charley Rose, jazz great, Diana Krall stated that she didn't think of herself as being particularly great as a musician, but that she plays the piano because she LOVES to play it.  I have a couple of wonderful metalsmithing friends whom I will always think of as having much more precise bench skills than I do, but I recognize that my working their way would come at the price of how I prefer to express myself.  Being precisely traditional is a cost that is just too high for me.

Don't get me wrong.  I'll always be a technique snob, and I'll always do everything I do to the absolute best of my ability.  There is nothing like the skill that comes from making lots and lots of pieces with mistakes from which to learn to do better next time.  

Sometimes in the artist's relentless quest for beauty, however, we have to cherish our quirky momentary creations that perhaps aren't perfect, yet are great anyway for their spontaneity, hence my diving head first into the world of calligraphy and illumination.  There are plenty of people who can create perfect letterforms, but only one who could come up with the intricate, outside-the-box compositions that I do.

I don't plan on having a tombstone (I've given my husband the now impossible instructions to discretely scatter my ashes in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor), but if I did have one, I'd want it to say something like, "Here lies a wildly creative woman."  The last thing I'd want it to say is, "She was a good technician and did everything she was told."

An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field. - Niels Bohr, Danish physicist and Nobel Prize winner

1 comment:

Mare said...

When I think of a wildly creative woman, I immediately think of you!