I'm Cait Sherwood, a mixed-media painter who works into art journals.

I make art from the trash of the art I made before.

On Finishing Things (in which I realize I am a perfectionist)

"Done is better than perfect."  I hear that quote mentioned everywhere, it seems like.  It is famously posted on the wall at Facebook headquarters, apparently.  It matters to me, because lately I have realized how I have used "it's not finished yet!" as an excuse and hiding place.  I'm not even hiding from others under the guise of "not finished", I am hiding from myself.  Nothing is good enough, nothing meets my invisible expectation of how good, how complex my painting could be.  So, none of it is ever considered finished. 

Not done, obviously.  Come on.  Of course it's not done.  JK.

Not done, obviously.  Come on.  Of course it's not done.  JK.

To top it off, my paintings have an intuitive and multi-layered style that lends perfectly to this "not finished" approach. 

This year I worked through The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.  I was shocked to realize that these qualities of mine are that of a perfectionist.

!!!!!  What?  !  I am so not a perfectionist!  I have never considered myself to be a perfectionist.  I think of a perfectionist as someone who is like...clean, organized, and meets their goals.  (You know, someone who finishes things.)  Or maybe someone who self-describes as Type A.   Maybe with like some nice clothes and neat hair.  Or someone who can pull an all-nighter and still function the next day. None of that fits me.

Julia Cameron writes:

 "To the perfectionist, there is always room for improvement.  The perfectionist calls this humility.  In reality, it is egotism.  It is pride that makes us want to write a perfect script, paint a perfect painting, perform a perfect audition monologue. 

Perfectionism is not a quest for the best.  It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough--that we should try again.  

No.  We should not.

'A painting is never finished.  It simply stops in interesting places,' said Paul Gardner.  A book is never finished.  But at a certain point you stop writing it and go on to the next thing.  A film is never cut perfectly, but at a certain point you let go and call it done.  That is a normal part of creativity--letting go.  We always do the best that we can by the light we have to see by."

Guys, at this point I am so disappointed in myself!  I pride myself on being so open to my own artistic "flow", which I have mentioned on this site.  I already know about the flow!  And the stopping in interesting places.  But, still, I am undeniably embodying this egotism! 

Okay... look.  I know it's okay.

But, that's why lately I have been officially FINISHING things, by posting them online.  For me, that does it.  When I post on Instagram or Facebook I am saying to myself "GOOD ENOUGH.  LET GO NOW."

And, so far, it's feeling great.

West Virginia

Moth Day

Moth Day