Embracing Imperfection

 Embracing Imperfection

Embracing Imperfection

How It Started

Growing up as a child I was always disappointed with my smudgy, chunky and somewhat sloppy art. It didn't look as good as my older brother's who seemed to create the most crisp and perfect drawings. This disappointment lasted through grade school as I continued to struggle with my flawed style.

The Reminder

I didn't paint much as a young man until 2002 when I decided to purchase a few tubes of watercolors, brushes and a stack of paper. There I was exploring art once again only to be reminded of how frustrated it made me feel. I just couldn't find any peace in what I created. But I was stubborn and the painting continued.

Several months passed...

Turning Point

I can't pinpoint the exact moment but I remember looking around my apartment one afternoon at all the art that was piling up. I had a few pieces taped to the wall. As I sat there looking at the artwork I started to see good in what I had created. The loose and quirky qualities were actually kind of interesting. Wow - things don't have to be pretty and exact. This was a major turning point - I had embraced imperfections.

Once I learned to view my work for what it was, and not for what it wasn't, I started to paint freely. No longer was I trying to paint in a certain style. There was a tremendous sense of unleashed energy and excitement. At this point creating art became natural, easy and fun.

In 2006 I started painting full time. Soon after I built my first website. Collectors and fellow artists started noticing my work. Sales and commissions were flowing. Artists wanted to know if I taught workshops. At the time I did not since I didn't fully understand my methodology. After many opportunities to share my passion I finally taught my first workshop in 2013.

The Epiphany

Standing in front of the class that morning I was a nervous wreck. I had no idea what to teach since I didn't fully understand the techniques I used that got me here. So I did what anyone would do and began to talk about my journey. Within minutes the light bulbs came on. It was almost as if I was having multiple flash backs all at once of the many hours and lessons I learned over the years.

That night was a sleepless one. The epiphany kept me up all night writing down what I had learned about my creative process. They were just incomplete sentences and rambling thoughts at first, but over time they have developed into a series of online courses and interactive workshops that are now available to everyone that wants to learn.

Coming Full Circle

But more than any technique that I use and teach, I think it's the approach and attitude that make the difference. Embracing imperfections had to happen in order for me to continue my creative journey. There's a sense of honesty and peace in my work now that allows me to paint confidently and without expectations. I know now that my imperfections are what makes my art work.

Many artists can paint an object, or scene as it is. But few have the courage and confidence to express it imperfectly as only they can.
— Robert Joyner
GeneralRobert Joyner