The Beauty of Imperfection: Lessons From a Corks and Canvas Event

painting of trees and water with reds, blues and yellows

I am not that artistic.

I mean, I occasionally doodle and I once taught myself to crochet by watching You Tube videos. I may have glossed over a few key instructions because my afghans are shaped more like trapezoids than rectangles to this day. Even so, they are equally warm in all shapes, and I’ve yet to see anyone pull out a measuring tape before snuggling in – least of all my mini dachshund, Zoey.

Before the corks and canvas event at Vino Bella, I had never painted anything – well, unless you count paint-by-number anyway. Despite having exactly none of Picasso or Thomas Kinkade’s talents, I was able to laugh myself through it and not take the project too seriously.

If you’ve never been to an art event like this, you simply must go!

Artistic ability was not at all a prerequisite. I’m pretty sure that even if I had decided to put a red paint smudge in the middle of my canvas and call it done, it would still have been fun. I think everyone had the same primary objective: to have a great time sipping wine and seeing what might happen on our canvas over the course of the night.

Some painters were silent, intent on their technique. Others just laughed hysterically and poked fun at themselves along the way. And some even went rogue, doing the unthinkable: choosing unconventional colors, going portrait instead of landscape. At least one person even painted on the diagonal – quite the maverick!

Every now and then, I would take a break and look around the room to see how everyone else’s project was coming along, and I couldn’t help but smile as I overheard some common revelations:

1. “I’ve ruined it!”
2. “It’s outlandish!”
3. “Oh, that’s waaaay too much red!”
4. “I can’t decide if I’ve ruined it or fixed it.”
5. “Alright…I guess I’m done.”

Why are we so hard on ourselves? In the grand scheme of things, it’s just a painting after all. And yet you would think by listening to some of these comments that there were lives at stake.

What did surprise me a little, though, was that I heard more words of encouragement than criticism. Every painter seemed to have a mini cheering committee. Complete strangers were complimenting their table mates as if they were old friends. In fact, the only criticisms I heard at all were self-criticisms. (Quite telling, isn’t it?)

The truth is, all of the paintings were masterpieces. I couldn’t help but smile as I walked around to see the final products. They were amazing – each and every one! It was fascinating to see all of the different interpretations of the very same prototype.

Toward the end of the evening, I admit that I started to feel anxious. How could they be cleaning up already? I still had so many touch-ups and adjustments to make! I quickly realized this was a good thing. Had I been left to my own timeline, I would have spend at least another hour tweaking the tree branches and rocks. But fortunately, the event was time-bound and I was forced to finish, ready or not.

Indeed, this was yet another lesson in imperfection for me. If you struggle with keeping your perfectionist tendencies in check too, an event like this might be just what you need. I bet you’ll be surprised to see  just how beautiful imperfection can be.