Artist Ramblings: Perfection


I read a quote attributed to Leonardo da Vinci yesterday which said: “A work of art is never finished, it is only abandoned.” This is painfully true.  It is rarely with satisfaction that I put a work behind glass, most often it is with a sort of desperation.  I know it is not perfect but I do not know what else to do.  It is even more rare for me to look at a work a year after finishing it and enjoy the experience.  But at some point I have to say, this is good enough, and move on.

One never loves a work of art with the same intensity after one has laid it aside.  For, while working on a piece, one can see in one’s  mind how it ought to look and have confidence that it can be perfect.  But when it is finished it rarely matches that vision.  Only two of my finished drawings have I ever wanted to keep for my own pleasure.  Both of them were requested by people who saw them and I did not know how to politely refuse.

Life is artistry.   We can catch a vision of perfection, but we cannot reach it.  And even when we come close, we cannot keep what we have made.  No matter how much we manage to improve the world or ourselves, there is always more to do, and things that were lost that must be done again. Then, when our work is ended, not finished, we loose everything in death.

But God is the keeper of perfection and we are His works in progress.  Of all artists He alone can see the vision, bring it into being, and preserve it forever.  He creates perfection from our imperfection. He is never dissatisfied with His work.  He will never loose it after it is perfected.  He will never abandon us.

~Jane Blake