One of the challenges of your art practice is being able to evaluate your finished work in terms of what is excellent and what is just good or all right. Many of us want to be able to identify our best work and also to accept nothing less than this for ourselves. But do we have to push everything we do to this highest standard? Can we allow some things to be less than our best and move on? And are we really able to be objective in evaluating our own work anyway?
This is not about giving up on something that is a learning experience and the struggles you are encountering are likely to lead you into new territory. Here we are talking about your overall output and recognizing that not everything you produce is at the same level. It’s also about acknowledging that some work has already arrived at the place where it has little more to reveal.
You may feel dissatisfied with a piece because it feels repetitive, or you are somehow not connecting with it in a personal way. That feeling is something to accept when it happens occasionally, although it can be a red flag if it happens very often, signaling that it’s time for a change.
But if by all objective standards you can call the work finished and very good, it’s fine to send it out into the world. It’s easy to become so perfectionistic that we deprive others of seeing work that they may respond to very positively. You can think of your own standards as a ladder—the top rung is the work that you objectively believe to be excellent and also love for your own reasons, and the next rung down is still very good if it checks all the boxes for objective self-critique and you may --or may not-- love it on a subjective level. Work on either rung should be considered worthy of being seen by other people.
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Rebecca and her partner at Cold Wax Academy, Jerry McLaughlin are wrapping up an exciting Spring Quarter and have announced their lineup of topics for Summer quarter which begins July 7. Their weekly live, interactive sessions will focus on Mark-making, Composition, and on Setting and Following Intentions to create strong, cohesive work.
But you don't have to wait for the new quarter to join the Academy--All sessions are recorded and fully accessible in the Member Library, and you can watch and rewatch at your own pace. In addition, joining at any time gives you access to all the perks of membership and the benefits of being part of a growing, knowledgable community of other artists.
Here is what a member named Sandy has to say about her own experience:
"Rebecca and Jerry have presented the most professional, authentic and structured approach to a creative activity I have ever come across. Their selfless sharing of all their knowledge and encouragement is a gift in my life unsurpassed."
And just in --for a limited time, Jerry and Rebecca are offering a new membership level that provides access to their extensive video workshop only-- the cost is $249 for 6 weeks of streaming access, plenty of time to watch and rewatch all the in-depth content provided in this unique video.
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