July 20, 2011

Reveling in the Beauty of Process: Thoughts on Making Art and Finding Perfection in the Imperfect. ~ Emma Burrows

It took me a while to let go of my attachment to everything I create.

I spent years worrying over every line I drew or stroke I painted. If it wasn’t what I had planned, it must be erased, painted over, forgotten and trashed forever, I thought. Not long ago I realized I was missing the point entirely.

So then came the goal: use my sketchbook as an object of creativity not a place for seeking perfection in the product.

Now, on each new page, I see possibility, freedom and creativity. The book is bound for a reason; it offers a collection of each part of the process. My sketchbook is not bound to taunt me for my flawed lines or duds on the road to unrealistic ideals of perfection. It does not need to be included in my portfolio or shared with anyone but myself. For me, my sketchbook is a place for process because, I feel, in process there is perfection.

In this acceptance of the process I find room to breathe more deeply.

With each little drawing, collage and painting, I revel in the ephemeral quality of the image. Each page is connected with the place from which it was conceived and each drawing sits in the company of other well-traveled creations. Whether it is a gesture or quick sketch or a drawing that I continue to come back to again and again, it belongs in a sacred collection of other sparks of inspiration along my path.

Another wonderment: what if beauty is enough.

Historically speaking, I have spent time analyzing myself as an artist and human—thoroughly overanalyzing the meaning of what I do. What does it mean to make that choice—to volunteer versus to work, to make art for me versus creating for others? What does it mean if I want to make art that isn’t infused with a deep philosophically riveting message? And, one big question that is pressing on me right now—what does it mean if I make the choice to pour my energies into things that aren’t my art? And, to be honest, do any of these comparisons really need to be made in the first place anyway?

Now, I have found much more comfort lingering in the place not knowing. I think that it is beautiful (for lack of a more descriptive word) to find beauty in everything and for that beauty to be enough.

I think that this exact mentality is what makes my new view on sketchbook-ing so perfect. If I can allow the space of the sketchbook to have the freedom and breath of possibility then everything within it is perfect. Holding a deep sense of knowing that each mark is sacred then I can take each breath more deeply.

Because, I ask myself, what is more perfect than the imperfect or more beautiful than a pause in the wonderment of it all?

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How can I let go today, I ask myself as I pull my black sketchbook from my bag and un-cap my pen.


Emma Burrows aims to find the beauty in the little things and feels lucky to consistently find gems of wonderment everywhere she goes. She is a passionate vegan baker, cook, yogini and visual artist and finds inspiration each day in nature, on the mat, and in the kitchen. Feel free to check out what Emma is up to in her studio at http://emmaburrowsart.wordpress.com.

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