Things I'm Learning From Artwork and Imperfections

It has been said of true art: “It is the imperfections that make it priceless.”  When you can see the brush stroke from the paintbrush, or see where the painter himself caused a smudge… it is those imperfections that make it authentic, because “they have been touched by the master artist.”  We have been touched by the Master Artist, and it is our imperfections that let others know we are authentic. I was an invited a few years back to be a guest on a cruise with my pal Kathy Trocolli.  We were somewhere in the Southern Caribbean and it was glorious – sun, sun, and more sun.  I didn’t have my kids on this particular cruise, and I found myself having some wonderful and much needed quiet time… and I would catch up with friends here and there to join them for activities. But truth be told, I’d always rather stay on the boat and read or sunbathe, or just nap.  This one particular day, however, I had a little extra energy and time, so I decided to get off the boat just for a bit.  I wandered into a little village with the most adorable shops.  I’m not sure why, but I was drawn to a shop that contained paintings.  They were lovely, as I looked through the window, so I decided I would just walk on in. I lost myself in a sea of lovely colors and scenes… until I began to notice something very peculiar… all of the paintings -- every single one of them -- were of the exact same thing:  A beach with a hammock under a palm tree, with the waves rolling in at sunset.  Absolutely gorgeous… but it was kind of odd to see just one idea.   Some paintings were small, some were large, some were black and white, and some were color -- muted or vibrant.  And they were framed to perfectly match each of the feel of the paintings. I continued to just browse thru the small shop with many tiny aisles.  These paintings truly had captured a moment in the artist’s life so eloquently on canvas.  I turned a corner of the tiny aisle I had been on, and essentially bumped into a tall metal cylinder-type object -- something that resembled an umbrella holder that might be placed by a front door. But this metal cylinder held, what to me looked like, old frayed canvas that had been rolled up into a tube, held together by a little rubber band.  I took one out of the cylinder to get a closer look and see that the price tag, being clearly visible, said $3,000.  I think I blinked twice, thinking I had read it wrong.  Nope, there it was again -- $3,000.  Just then I noticed one of the sales ladies; I’m pretty sure she had been watching attentively but still giving me, the consumer, some space.   But as our eyes met, she could see an unspoken question on my face. “Is there anything I can help you with?  Do you have any questions?” she asked.  I started to say, “No I’m just browsing,” but curiosity won out.  “Yes I do have a question if you don’t mind.”  “Fire away,” she said. “I am curious what these rolled canvases are?” “The same picture that you see all around the shop… those are the same as well.” “Are they really $3,000?” I asked with astonishment. “Yes they are.  They are very special.” I could not compute this in my head.  Here is what I was coming up with: If those rolled up crumply ones are $3,000, then for Heaven’s sake, the other paintings all around the shop must be in the $10’s of 1000’s!!  I had to know. “Ma’am,” I began, “If the rolled up canvases are $3,000, then can you please just tell me how much the really beautiful ones all over the shop cost?” She smiled a bit as though to say, “I’ve heard this before.”  She said, “The canvases on the wall and all around the shop are based on size, but the big one here in the frame you’ve pointed out is…” (she turned over the price tag and I was holding my breath) “$99.” “I’m sorry, what?  Did you say $99 or did you mean $9900?!” “$99,” she looked again at the price just to be sure, “Yes, just $99.” I must have looked completely stunned and speechless.  “Ma’am, now you’re really going to have to explain it to me.” “We work with one artist in this gallery.  And he paints one very similar theme.  And they are truly exquisite as you can see.”   I nodded in agreement as I jumped in with newly formed curiosity. “Why is the rolled up, tattered painting so much more valuable than the beautifully framed ones that are so much less expensive?” Her answer was so simple and yet so unbelievably profound.  As she pulled out one of the rolled up canvases from the metal cylinder she stated simply:

Because my dear, THIS canvas was actually touched by the artist himself.  You see that little smudge there?  It adds value to the price because the artist himself left that smudge when he was trying to add some texture to this one particular section.  Often, you can even see the mark left behind by the paintbrush that doesn’t get exactly smooth.  All the little “imperfections” are what make the art world know that THIS VERY PAINTING is the authentic one.  The others you see that are displayed around the gallery are copies of the original.  And the imperfections have been taken out to make a smooth copy finish.  But the only way for me to know if a work of art is authentic and original, and actually touched by the master artist’s hands, is by the number of imperfections.

As I finished up my browsing, I was awed by this revelation.  My mind quickly recalled the children’s story, The Velveteen Rabbit.  When the child had received the rabbit as a gift many years earlier, the rabbit was in pristine condition.  But now it was worm, and an eye dangled, and the fuzz had been loved off.  One of the characters says at the end of the book… “Aren’t you sad Rabbit?”  And Rabbit, in the wise old sage Rabbit way says something like, “You know that you have been loved and have had a good life when your fuzz has been rubbed off.” There is beauty in imperfections if we choose to focus on how the imperfections got to be in the first place. So, here are some things I’m learning from art:

1.  It’s not the (seeming) perfection that gives value. It is the noticeable imperfections that allows others to see the authenticity.

2.  The thing that adds the most value and makes a work of art priceless is when it has been touched by the artist’s hands.

3.  I want to risk more in life… even if I get a little messy along the way.

4.  I want the Master’s Hand to touch mine, and He lead the way.

5.  I think when I can allow God to reframe what perfect and imperfect looks like, then I don’t mind my extra wrinkles in my forehead, or the “play handles” under my arms, or the fact that I have one lazy eye.

If God is the ARTIST and He created me just like He wanted me, and if I believe He doesn’t make mistakes… well then, I guess I can learn to say that I am a BEAUTIFUL IMPERFECTION! Anybody wanna join me and say, “YES I AM; I AM A BIG, BOLD, BEAUTIFUL IMPERFECTION!” We have been touched by the Master’s Hand -- we are an ORIGINAL – Authentic, Unique, Blemished, Smudged… AND THAT’S WHAT MAKES US PRICELESS!!!!! -       Sandi   LISTEN TO ARTIST OF MY SOUL [audio mp3=""][/audio]   PURCHASE ON ITUNES Artist_Sunset   Lyrics to Artist Of My Soul   Oh Lord of light, of form and hue, Who has created all things new, Create in me, from shapeless clay, An instrument on which you play.   God of the dance that planets tread, Who walks beside and soars ahead, O let me move to worship Thee; come, Holy Spirit dance with me   God of the Living Word, Poet of Time, teach me Your words in Your cadence and rhyme. O Lord of beauty, Lord of art, Who gives a song for every heart, carve out my life, reshape and mold; And be the artist of my soul   Teach me Your words in Your cadence and rhyme. O Lord of beauty, Lord of art, Who gives a song for every heart, carve out my life, reshape and mold; and be the artist of my soul.   Carve out my life, reshape and mold; and be the artist of my soul


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