★ Mastery not Perfection: Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

Hey there, welcome to a new week of creation, happiness, and creating more. I hope your Memorial day is/was memorable as we remember those who served and died to protect us and ensure our freedoms—we might not always agree with why they’ve been sent, but we shouldn’t ever turn our backs on them.

I’m going to keep on with the perfection topic.

Don’t Be Mean and Demean

While I am on this anti-perfectionist kick, I must explain that this isn’t about pushing out crap, championing slop, or less than stellar work. It’s about building ourselves (hopefully, others too) up as artists—in whatever stage we’re in, now, growing and learning to be happy with who we are and where we are.

This is important because it’s so easy to compare and see ourselves as subpar. It’s easy to bemoan our current abilities and groan over our lack rather than hone and grow—with sincere happiness.

There is truth to being discontented with where we are, but we mustn’t confuse discontent with destructive critique. If we are dissatisfied, for example, with how we draw hands practicing drawing hands will produce far better results than destructive self-talk about how terrible we draw hands. Creating, being happy, and creating more will produce more with better results while moving us toward mastery and satisfaction. It’s a choice we get to make and need to make.

This is all so very obvious, I know. But, knowing and doing are often miles apart. Practice is a practical application of our discontent. Belittling and berating ourselves will only demean and destroy our drive for betterment.

What is Mastery?

I remember hearing a teacher, who thought they knew a lot about art and beauty, say that unless your skills are similar to that of John Singer Sargent then you are doing it wrong. Drawing like Sargent, however much I would love to every once in awhile, isn’t the goal of our lives. Mastery of the abilities that we have as artists, the ones that are our core, the ones that express themselves when we are naturally trying to do work we enjoy and are relaxed doing, are the goals we must attain. These are the creative sparks that flow out of us. We must do these and do them to the best of our ability—in each stage we enter—whether beginning, in journey/growth, or in mastery.

Delight 

As artists this will be to our betterment when we are happily discontented rather than the alternative nagging, belittling, discontent. We must find delight in our now so our art will grow to be just right.

 


Latest Sketches:












 


RECOMMENDED TOOL:


Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Color Pocket PLUS Set of 24 Half Pans

I have always liked Winsor & newton watercolors. I have tried a few others, but I tend to comeback to them. I recently wanted a larger travel set (my last one had 8 colors) and got a Koi brand. It was ok. It worked. Some of the ones above were painted with the Koi brand, but I just didn’t like it. I wanted a better mixable watercolor. The Koi tended to have particles and it mixed way too easy. I like to touch colors into colors and then paint that on—without making a new color. The Koi didn’t allow for this.

To explain how the Winsor & Newton work: imagine having a watery blue on your mixing palette and then touching a bright red in and scooping up unmixed blue with unmixed red and then painting it on and mixing and not mixing while you brush—some of the red just seeps into the blue and vice verse. The Koi immediately mixed and was flaky.

 


RECENT GOOD READ:

Delilah Dirk

Good troublemakers are hard to find. I mean well written troublemakers are hard to find. My kids and I enjoy this story because it’s kid friendly, clean, and adventurous. I like the tale because Delilah, unlike her namesake, is much more heroic than traitorous. She is much more like warrior Deborah, with a spunk and a glint in her eyes, than Delilah the liar.

“Globetrotting troublemaker Delilah Dirk and her loyal friend Selim are just minding their own business, peacefully raiding castles and traipsing across enemy lines, when they attract the unwanted attention of the English Army. Before they know it, Delilah and Selim have gotten themselves accused of espionage against the British crown!

Delilah will do whatever it takes to clear her good name, be it sneaking, skirmishing, or even sword fighting… But can she bring herself to wear a pretty dress and have a nice cup of tea with her mother? Delilah Dirk may be defeated at last. By tulle…in Tony Cliff’s Delilah Dirk and the King’s Shilling.”

 


Thanks for joining me here once more. How do you keep yourself from belittling your abilities. What do you say to yourself about where you are?

Have a great week everyone. Create, be happy, create more,

Jay

P.S. As I mentioned earlier, Raynna and I have been concocting something that we’re hoping to announce soon, make sure you’re subscribed if you want to hear first. Thanks for being here everyone!

Also, Subscribe to get the free one page PDF: Fourteen Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration. My wife and I have packed it full for you.

Jay Myers: Curtesy of Raynna Myers

Please share this with anyone else you think may be encouraged by these kind of updates. Thanks!

Other ways to connect (MrJayMyers): Twitter , FaceBook and Instagram.

Check out my free western fairytale webcomic: The Adventures of Tomy and JonOr buy your own copy here.
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I always want to disclose to you that I do use affiliate links on the products I recommend but never at any extra cost to you and never just to make money. I’ll only recommend products I believe in. Thanks for your trust. My full disclosure policy is here if interested.

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★ Story is better than perfection: Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

Perfection is a hard bargain. To draw without flaw is impossible—because we will fail in one of two ways: we will either capture the subject inaccurately or we will accurately capture details losing the spirit and energy of the things we draw.

On the flip side, if we focus on story (in every work, job, or event) we will capture the timelessness of the tale. Let me illuminate this a bit: if I perfectly describe an event in a list: there were people, they ate, they drank, there was music, there was a weird incident, etc—I will most definitely lose the intensity, the passion, and likely the scope of the event. Contrariwise, if I try to capture all of the intensity, passion, and scope I will most definitely not deliver a perfect recital of everything that occurred.

Because I will definitely get something wrong, it is better to capture the story in all of its glory than to deliver an event with visceral defect trying to make it perfect. Shoot for story. Capture the guts of the idea, the event, the work—it will grab the imagination and give truer presentation of life.

Let’s take this one step further—show don’t tell: A good tale requires a protagonist, an antagonist, a plot, a conflict, a crisis, a personal evolution, a resolution, and a satisfactory accomplishment. How boring the list (unless I am trying to understand story structure—the list has its place). Alternatively, if I said, a story records a being fighting for its right to live against its own desire to die, in the throws of a civil war among its people and only after watching the death of those around it does the being rise from its cowering turmoil and march out to meet the warring factions head on—armed only with a flag of truce and will to love…

I will have given you most of the list, but, I am sure one of those was much more captivating—even though it was incomplete and we haven’t a clue if the thing is human or what its name is. We captivated. Grab them with a tale and make them gasp.

Let’s understand one more thing about story: it is the reason why we talk to one another. Story is why communication is so valued. Some are afraid of our own stories, some are not—but we all have stories to be heard. Story not perfection creates community. Tell us the tale of how we failed a class, broke our phone, singed our eyebrows before our weddings—whatever it is, share. Look perfection in the face and say, “I will not be bullied by you” and then share art, life, work, in all of its glorious imperfections—freely.

 


Latest Sketches:

Here is a video of my April 8 – May 19th sketchbook: 130 pages of truly imperfect sketches.

A post shared by Jay Myers (@mrjaymyers) on May 21, 2017 at 8:57am PDT

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js












 


RECOMMENDED TOOL:


Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Color Pocket PLUS Set of 24 Half Pans

I have always liked Winsor & newton watercolors. I have tried a few others, but I tend to comeback to them. I recently wanted a larger travel set (my last one had 8 colors) and got a Koi brand. It was ok. It worked. Some of the ones above were painted with the Koi brand, but I just didn’t like it. I wanted a better mixable watercolor. The Koi tended to have particles and it mixed way too easy. I like to touch colors into colors and then paint that on—without making a new color. The Koi didn’t allow for this.

To explain how the Winsor & Newton work: imagine having a watery blue on your mixing palette and then touching a bright red in and scooping up unmixed blue with unmixed red and then painting it on and mixing and not mixing while you brush—some of the red just seeps into the blue and vice verse. The Koi immediately mixed and was flaky.

 


RECENT GOOD READ:

I’m sharing this one again, because it is a good one—just in case you missed it, or need to be reminded of it, or just liked it that much. 🙂

Stolen off of RabbitRoom’s blog

Comparison is the Thief of Joy (a Tattoo)
by Gina Sutphin

“The following year I attended my second Hutchmoot. I found myself in a session by Jeffrey Overstreet.  He began by saying “I have a friend who has a tattoo. It reads “Comparison is the thief of joy.” That is exactly what I had allowed. I have to work at things that are seemingly effortless for Joe, so I had stopped seeing my talents as valuable in comparison to his. I had let my own attitude defeat myself. This was a reality check I needed. I’m sure there are others out there that need it as well, so I’m opening up our world for a little glimpse inside to show you that you are not alone.”

 


Thanks for joining me here again. What do you think? I know sharpening skill is necessary, but how important is story to you?

Have a great week everyone. Create, be happy, create more,

Jay

P.S. As I mentioned earlier, Raynna and I have been concocting something that we’re hoping to announce soon, make sure you’re subscribed if you want to hear first. Thanks for being here everyone!

Also, Subscribe to get the free one page PDF: Fourteen Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration. My wife and I have packed it full for you.

Jay Myers: Curtesy of Raynna Myers

Please share this with anyone else you think may be encouraged by these kind of updates. Thanks!

Other ways to connect (MrJayMyers): Twitter , FaceBook and Instagram.

Check out my free western fairytale webcomic: The Adventures of Tomy and JonOr buy your own copy here.
image

 

#mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; }
/* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block.
We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */

Subscribe below to my email newsletter and get a link for a free download of a one page PDF to keep you inspired:

* indicates required
Email Address *
First Name
Last Name

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  • text

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I always want to disclose to you that I do use affiliate links on the products I recommend but never at any extra cost to you and never just to make money. I’ll only recommend products I believe in. Thanks for your trust. My full disclosure policy is here if interested.

via http://www.mrjaymyers.com/2017/05/story-is-better-than-perfection/

★ Perfection Kills Love: Artist Kindling Letter From MrJayMyers

Perfection kills, that’s it. I could stop and make that the entire post, but I won’t. There is so much more to understand about this disease that we have gained. It comes down from the ancients and has embedded itself in our psyche to the point that we are demoralizing, demonizing, and destroying ourselves (and others) because we don’t reach it.

Idealizing the goals that we have, whether as artists, writers, scientists, roofers, whatevers, will destroy our ability to enjoy and better ourselves. It is the very act of striving for perfection that keeps us from becoming truly perfected. The only true “perfection” we can achieve is to love deeply.

Now that’s the summary. Are you interested enough to read more?


Well, first let me remind you that Raynna and I are working on a project that we hope to release soon. We hope to have it within the next few months, but we might still tease it here and there.

Also, if you haven’t caught up on our 14 (yes, it used to be 13) Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration here are the links: Wonder, Purposefulness, Friendship, Listening, Honesty, Studying, Rest, Encouraging, Doing the Work, Sketchbooking, Scribbling, Shipping, and Challenges,

I’ve collected all of the “Thirteen (Fourteen) Commitment” posts, so far, under one link. Please share them with the artists you know. You can find them here. (Note: I will be updating all sections to reflect the, now, Fourteen Commitments.)


Back to our topic at hand: our current culture is deeply influenced by the ancient Greeks, it’s in our governments, it’s in our obsession with body fitness, selfies, philosophies, religion, it’s everywhere. Now, I could spend the rest of this post telling you all about how we got here, but that’s not the purpose, and just researching a little will yield a lot. One of the unfortunate passings down to us is the concept of perfection. A lot of people will tell you it is religion’s (namely Christianity’s) fault. In part this is true, but that’s only once Christianity became influenced by the Greek culture.

At its core, Christianity (when you peel the onion of tradition) has Jewish ideals of “perfection”. These ideals are expressed in completion. Better said, it is the idea that we are growing into what we are supposed to become. It is like bread that, when all ingredients are combined, grows and becomes a loaf. It is complete, perfect, not without dent or dip, rather it has become itself. Here’s where this really came alive for me—the passages below, a discourse on love. One discourse, two different accounts of it. I think they explain each other.

Here’s the first account:

“…’I say to you, Love your enemies … so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven … For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? …  And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? … You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43–48 ESV)

Here’s the second:

“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? … And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? … But love your enemies, … and you will be sons of the Most High … Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:32–36 ESV)

So, in a discourse on love, Jesus speaks about perfection. In the same discourse in a different book of the Bible he speaks about mercy (compassion). So according to Jesus, perfection and mercy are the same thing.

In his famous love chapter in the Bible Paul writes about the perfect coming (it’s a journey, a growing, a recipe). Each of these things are dealing with being complete—whole. Love is the ideal of a true Bible-based perfection—it isn’t shimmery oiled up bodies, perfect hair or status.

Now to connect all of this: it isn’t art without wrinkle, writing without hole, equations without typo, roofs without leaks. It is passion working together with the journey toward wholeness.

When we remove the pristine perfection concept from our measuring instruments, not only will we become more forgiving of others—we will be able to do the harder part of forgiving and accepting ourselves.

Now, I haven’t perfected this removal (wink wink)… I am on a journey to better accept my weaknesses and mistakes. Not only that, but I am finding that these things often make me who I am.

Don’t let perfection rob your joy, your passion, your love. Let love inform and mold your journey toward becoming better. We become better in the journey so we can become whole. We work to gather in all of the ingredients of this life and grow toward who we were created to be. So that we can pour out that wholeness, perfection, on others—for others. This is why Biblical perfection will always make us humble, true, and loving.

 


Latest Sketches:

To fight against my own perfectionism I challenged myself to 30 days of ink only drawing. It’s been awful. I have two days left.

The guidelines I put on myself are: I can use watercolor and any other form of non-erasable media. These are my attempts at arting without a safety net.




















 


RECOMMENDED TOOL:


Handbook Sketch Book

At first I didn’t like this book, but it is the one I am using for the 30 days of no pencil and it has grown on me. The main difference between the HandBook and Moleskine is the waxy pages. This has a subtle but pleasant texture and I think I might be hooked.

“Hand-book Trav-e-logue Drawing Book 8-1/4-Inch by 5-1/2-Inch, Large Portrait in Ivory Black contains 128 acid-free pages of heavyweight buff drawing paper. The paper has a good tooth which makes it an excellent choice for drawing and sketching work. The hand-bound cover has just the right flexibility. Great for pen and ink, pencil and markers. It accepts light watercolor washes without buckling. It has a durable elastic closure and a very useful clear envelope tucked inside the back cover. The perfect journal for artists on the go.”

 


RECENT GOOD READ:

Stolen off of RabbitRoom’s blog

Comparison is the Thief of Joy (a Tattoo)
by Gina Sutphin

“The following year I attended my second Hutchmoot. I found myself in a session by Jeffrey Overstreet.  He began by saying “I have a friend who has a tattoo. It reads “Comparison is the thief of joy.” That is exactly what I had allowed. I have to work at things that are seemingly effortless for Joe, so I had stopped seeing my talents as valuable in comparison to his. I had let my own attitude defeat myself. This was a reality check I needed. I’m sure there are others out there that need it as well, so I’m opening up our world for a little glimpse inside to show you that you are not alone.”

 

 


I didn’t mean for there to be so long between my last post and this one, but I’m trying to follow my own advice and jump in where I left off.

Have a great week everyone. Create, be happy, create more,

Jay

P.S. As I mentioned earlier, Raynna and I have been concocting something that we’re hoping to announce soon, make sure you’re subscribed if you want to hear first. Thanks for being here everyone!

Also, Subscribe to get the free one page PDF: Fourteen Commitments for Artists to Cultivate Inspiration. My wife and I have packed it full for you.

Jay Myers: Curtesy of Raynna Myers

Please share this with anyone else you think may be encouraged by these kind of updates. Thanks!

Other ways to connect (MrJayMyers): Twitter , FaceBook and Instagram.

Check out my free western fairytale webcomic: The Adventures of Tomy and JonOr buy your own copy here.
image

 

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/* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block.
We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */

Subscribe below to my email newsletter and get a link for a free download of a one page PDF to keep you inspired:

* indicates required
Email Address *
First Name
Last Name

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  • html
  • text

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I always want to disclose to you that I do use affiliate links on the products I recommend but never at any extra cost to you and never just to make money. I’ll only recommend products I believe in. Thanks for your trust. My full disclosure policy is here if interested.

via http://www.mrjaymyers.com/2017/05/perfection-kills-love-artist-kindling-letter-from-mrjaymyers/