Gratitude - Art

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 40 Days of Gratitude continues with a post on Art. Being perfectly imperfect and accepting the value and beauty in our flaws.

Picasso or DaVinci? What piece of art are you most grateful for?

Art comes in many flavors and forms, but there's one piece in particular that really sparks my thinking and reminds me that it's okay to be imperfect.

I grew up with art - my grandmother painted. A lot. She thought she was terrible, but she frequently received offers for cash purchases for her work in class showings. Most of all, she loved painting old barns and seascapes, because painting human or animal form just got her anxiety worked up. So she stuck to natural, animated-being-free paintings.

She'd let me use her brushes and paints from time to time, particularly in the summer, to experiment with my own artistic skills (which are still sadly lacking). I'd trace a picture I really liked, and then do my best to paint it, or fill it in with pastels. Nothing I did ever came out as good as her paintings.

But I learned something along the way - a lesson she'd frequently bark at me when I'd put my work down. "Nothing in nature is perfect, so let go of the expectation that your painting must be perfect, too." 

Ironically, she never took her own advice.

But it's true. Nothing in nature is perfect.

Trees have wild knots and broken branches. 

Flowers get little imperfections from bugs or the weather.

And I am so far from perfect that the idea that I need to be perfect is almost laughable.

I say "almost" because some days, I'm in so much pain that laughing would probably send me over the edge.

I'm not perfect. 

I don't need to be.

Neither do I need to wait for a project to be "perfect" before I send it out into the world. But I digress, so... Back to the question. What piece of art am I grateful for?

I'm grateful for one of my grandmother's paintings. 

I have several, actually, but I feel blessed to have inherited one of her paintings in particular.

It's a painting of an old, dilapidated barn that's slowly crumbling in a field of tall, yellowed grass. In the foreground is a broken line of barbed wire fence - and it's this detail that I am most grateful for. My grandmother was offered a generous sum of money for the painting at a show, but she refused to sell it, even for the $300+ that was offered. (It's a large canvas, and the offer would have more than covered her costs of the canvas and frame - she was a stubborn woman, though...)

Besides her imagined "amateur" status as a painter, my grandmother had one other very powerful reason not to sell the canvas, and it goes back to that broken barbed wire fence.

You see, the canvas has a flaw in it. A bump and a small hole that she hadn't noticed when she purchased it for the project.

To her, that devalued the entire painting.

But unless someone points it out to you, you'd probably never notice it.

Gran? She was a genius.

The fence was never part of her original plan for the painting. It only came into being when she discovered the flaw, half-way into her project.

That flaw became the knot in a fence post - and it disappeared. It's still there, but you can't see it unless you look closely from a particular angle (which is an angle that most people don't study paintings from.

When I'm feeling really down and less than perfect, beating myself up for all the "shoulds" I'm behind on because of my illnesses, I go downstairs and I stare at that painting. I remind myself that chances are, I'm the only one who knows there's a flaw there. I make no secret that I struggle with chronic pain and chronic illnesses, including mental health issues, but really? To me, they're probably a bigger deal than they are to you. Because they're camouflaged in the fabric of who I am unless you look really closely.

40 Days of Gratitude continues with a post on Art. Being perfectly imperfect and accepting the value and beauty in our flaws.

Nothing in nature is perfect, and neither are you.

And that's okay.

It's okay to be flawed and different and imperfect.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Drop down into the comments and share what piece of art, or even what imperfection, you are grateful for. Share this post with a friend who needs a reminder that there are value and beauty in their imperfections.

And then go have a perfectly imperfect day!

Related posts: 

Your Flaws Make You Beautifully You

What's Your Big Goal?

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