where wildly different is perfectly normal
Painting through the perfectionism
Painting through the perfectionism

Painting through the perfectionism

Hi. My name is Jen. I am a perfectionist. It has taken me a long time to recognize this, even longer to accept it. I am a perfectionist and will likely remain a perfectionist. It’s in my wiring and I truly can’t help it. I believe it’s something I grew into, because I don’t remember being a perfectionist as a kid. Maybe I was, but I certainly didn’t have the grades to show for it. Wait…I worked damned hard to be first flute, and then when that wasn’t possible I became a killer piccolo player. Hm. Perhaps I have been a perfectionist all along.

But I digress.

Per usual.

As an aside, it’s so cold and dry here in Colorado right now that my sons’ hands are chapped and bleeding, and I have cracks in two of my fingertips. Wanna know how much fun it is to type on open sores? Not much. I’m sure you really wanted to know that. You’re welcome.

Again with the digression.

I’m a perfectionist, and it sucks. I believe that if I’m going to invest the time in doing something, it has to be done well or not at all. Yeah, I know how screwed up that is. So if I don’t have the time or energy to actually do it, it doesn’t get done. This explains the vast array of half-completed craft projects and why my carpet needs a deep vacuuming.


If I know that I have about as much chance of being good at something as my poor beloved Cubbies have of having a perfect season, then I let go. Hey! Who cares! You have zero chance of perfection, ZERO!!!, so wheeeeee!

I have never said that I make sense.

This attitude is most apparent in art. I am a terrible artist. I make small children cry. No, seriously, when I’d have to draw examples for students during flute lessons, they’d cry. Yes, it’d be from laughing to the point of hyperventilation, but my point is that there were tears involved. Stick figures are an effort for me. Hell, doodling is pushing the envelope.

Hand to God, I’m about to start typing with my tongue. My fingers are throbbing. Stupid arid climate.

Anyhoo, last night I went out with some girlfriends to paint. Out here in Denver painting bars are cropping up. No, seriously, it’s a bar with drinks, where you paint. On canvas. With real brushes and real paint. And a teacher guides you through painting a real painting. While you’re drinking. Genius! Ladies night out + wine + Devil May Care attitude towards art = dude, I had a blast.

I don’t know what it is, but painting with real paint with real brushes on a real canvas is so freeing for me. Whatever! I’m a terrible artist, I accept this, so let’s have fun! If I manage to not wear the paint or drink the brush water instead of the wine, I’ll call it a success! And it was a roaring success. My painting vaguely resembled the example, I had fun, I will go again in a heartbeat, and I learned something new about myself.

Perfectionism doesn’t own me. And that was the best possible lesson for me to learn.



You wanted to see the painting? Ok. Be warned, however. There very likely will be tears involved. Oh, and it’s a house. Just so you know.

Jen and her House of Chaos


  1. JenC

    Pretty house! And don’t feel bad about your artistic shortfalls… I was once told by my high school’s art teacher that when I drew a smiley face, it appeared to have some time of facial deformity. 🙂 (They come out much better as emoticons!)

  2. are you kidding me? put some dust on that, stick that in an auction at some frou-frou place on the coast here and it will bring a couple hundred. No shit.

    I actually liked it. You should check out the art at my friend Sharon’s blog – she goes by Queenie and is in my blog roll somewhere. your style is really quite similar to hers. Nice job!

  3. Sarah

    I like it! It’s purty!

    I need to get my butt over to something like that. But, then again, my artistic tendancies would probably get in the way, and I’d end up with a seascape, when everyone else painted a puppydog.

    For the fingertips. Try lanolin (the stuff they sell for nursing mothers to put on the sore nips…). Anywho, that stuff is awesome for the Colorado-winter-weather induced chapped fingers. Add 2 shots of Crown, and even if the lanolin doesn’t help, you wont feel it enough to care.

  4. Heather

    Love the idea of combining artistic endeavor with (moderate, right?) drinking! I think that would help my perfectionist husband who is actually pretty talented, drawing-wise, but will never believe it. I’m NOT a perfectionist, but I live with two of them, so I get it. I do. :o)
    (Oh, and we swear by Burt’s Bees Res-Q Ointment for the cracked fingertips.)

Whaddya think?

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