I grew up in Raleigh at a time when the nuns taught at Our Lady Of Lourdes. They lived out back of the school and wore those imposing yet Holy Habits that commanded your adoration, attention, and, quite frankly, your fear. So, when they asked you to "sit up straight" with your "feet flat on the floor" and compose your letters properly according to the Palmer Method of Handwriting, you did just that! I believe it was at that impressionable age that I became infatuated with the formation of letters. When I was introduced to calligraphy in 1978, it was no wonder I fell in love with this beautiful art form. My first taste of the calligraphic world lasted no longer than one hour. The instructor turned a piece of chalk on its edge to form calligraphic works of art from A to Z on the chalkboard. That was that! But it was all I needed to fire the embers that had been sparked in elementary school. Watching the slow, rhythmical shaping of those letters was like listening to classical music. It was not until 1997 that I enrolled in my first formal calligraphy class. Boy, were my eyes opened! I knew I had a lifelong road of learning ahead of me. It's been 38 years since that white piece of chalk was laid on its side. I am still learning. Come learn with me!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Artist's Way - Perfectionism

I have been reading The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron for over a year now. It's not a book you just plow through. It is a journey to ponder and to experience slowly.

In the chapter called "Week 7," she talks about perfectionism. I found it to be extremely enlightening. Below are some tidbits from this chapter.

"Perfectionism has nothing to do with getting it right. It has nothing to do with fixing things. It has nothing to do with standards. Perfectionism is a refusal to let yourself move ahead. It is a loop - an obsessive, debilitating closed system that causes you to get stuck in the details of what you are writing or painting or making and to lose sight of the whole."

"We correct our originality into a uniformity that lacks passion and spontaneity."

"The perfectionist fixes one line of a poem over and over - until no lines are right. The perfectionist redraws the chin line on a portrait until the paper tears."

"Instead of enjoying the process, the perfectionist is constantly grading the results."

"In order to do something well, we must first be willing to do it badly."

I hope these words have inspired you to just do what you are inspired to do, then let go of it, stand back and say, "That's pretty good."

(By the way, I read and reread what I just wrote about five times...just to make sure it was right.)

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