Imperfections make art interesting

Imperfections make art interesting


Perfection is overrated. Unlike Mary Poppins I am practically ‘IM’perfect in every way and proud of it. If everyone was perfect, then we would all be the same, and that would be boring. It is our flaws that make each one of us interesting and individuals.

This is also true of art.

If a group of art students all painted the same still-life grouping perfectly then every painting would look like a photograph. (How unbelievably boring.)

In 2006, the Columbus Art Gallery hosted the Sheldon Traveling Exhibit entitled “Who is Imitating Whom? Photography and Photo-Realism in Art.” I did not love this exhibit. In fact, it is my least favorite exhibit that we have presented here in Columbus.

The paintings were technically perfect. The artists’ intent was to fool the viewer into thinking that they were looking at a photograph. These artists worked hundreds of hours to hide their brush strokes and (in my opinion) ended up hiding their souls.

When I look at a piece of artwork, I want to learn something about the artist. Do they like warm or cool tones, big or little brushes, small details or large impressions? I want to imagine myself standing beside the artist while they are working and seeing the artwork evolve.

I also think the idea of perfection is the quickest way to squash creativity. There have been so many creative opportunities in my past that I psyched myself out of doing because I just knew that I could not end up with something fabulous (translation: perfect).

This summer I took a Beginning Batik workshop from Mollie Spieker. My spot in the class was right beside all of the colors available to “paint” on my fabric.

As Mollie was giving us general directions, I kept thinking, “How will I choose what colors to use? I don’t want my batik to be ugly.”

Mollie said something that has stuck with me since. She said, “I don’t begin a piece of fabric hoping to end up with something pretty. I begin hoping to end up with something interesting.”

This is my new crafting motto: “End up with something interesting.” It is very freeing. It allows me to take my eye off of the end result and really live in the creative process.

Upcoming Events

sponsored by the

Columbus Arts Council and the Columbus Art Gallery

n The September exhibit in the Columbus Art Gallery features a retrospective of Dick (Abe) Abraham’s artwork, oil paintings and pastels by Patty Scarborough, pastels by Lauralyn Pilakowski, and pottery by Tom Hubbell. The exhibit is sponsored by Noyes Rogers. Artist reception is from 2-4 p.m. Sunday.

n Travel with the Arts Council to see JERSEY BOYS at the Orpheum Theater in Omaha  on Sunday, Sept. 18, for the 2 p.m. matinee. Tickets are $125 per person and include bus ride, box lunch, (great) orchestra seating and snacks. Call Susan at 563-1016 for more information.

n StoryART begins Thursday, Sept. 22 and continues every other Thursday through May 10, 2012. Preschool age children listen to stories in the Children’s Room of the Columbus Public Library and then come down to the art gallery for a related art project. This is a free activity and the times are 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

The Wichita Children’s Theatre will perform a musical adaptation of “Chicken Little” at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3 at the Nantkes Performing Arts Center at Columbus High School. This is a free event sponsored by a grant from Mid-America Arts Alliance.

The Columbus Arts Council’s mission is to “enrich the community through the promotion and sponsorship of the fine arts.” Please use our gallery and staff as your local resource for opportunities to enrich your life with the arts. Check our website at or visit us on Facebook.

Susan Schoenhofer is executive director of the Columbus Arts Council.


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