Last night, my husband and I had an argument over my latest VOICE video. The clip of the long shot has a vibrating halo that I can probably mostly remedy in Final Cut. I know how to fix the problem with lighting and my husband thinks I should reshoot the scene. That’s not going to happen – the scene was improvised not scripted, the energy in the scene was good, it is what it is and now it’s over. (For me, the project was over when I figured out how to better light my new studio set up and I’m tempted to move on without fixing the clip!)
I was taught 1) that the very most important thing for an artist to learn is that a project is finished when it’s finished, not when it’s perfect; and 2) that one masterpiece or even several do not a body of work make; and 3) that it is all about body of work.
I had this driven home to me after I had accomplished a difficult carving project on my first piece of hardwood (walnut). As I basked in my exhaustion and self-satisfaction, my mentor said: “Good. Now go and do your REAL work.”
The big picture is not made up of discrete projects. The big picture is made up of completed successful projects, completed unsuccessful projects, a masterpiece or two, outright failures, abandoned projects and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, the knowledge and depth of understanding gained along one’s path of creation from each project.
That is not my philosophy. That is what really happens in the real world of living and working as artists. If you don’t believe me, peek into your own studio.
What’s underneath the surface between my husband’s and my disagreement are our different ways of big-picturing. My husband works on one big project at a time and that keeps him focused. I can’t focus on any one thing without considering how it relates to everything else I do.
But stepping away from the canvas to get a better look is stepping away from the canvas to get a better look.
Now, go and do your real work.