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

painting of trees and water with reds, blues and yellows

I’m not that artistic, so when I registered to attend a corks and canvas event at a nearby wine bar, I was delighted to find that artistic ability was not a prerequisite. The only objective was this: to drink some wine and see what happened on a blank canvas over the course of the evening.

I’m fairly certain that if I’d decided to just smear some red paint in the middle of my canvas I’d still have had a blast. (Did I mention there was wine?)

Part of what made it so fun was that each of us had a different approach. Some remained silent, focused intently on their technique. Others laughed hysterically and poked fun at themselves as they dabbed and brushed the canvas. And some even went rogue, doing the unthinkable: choosing unconventional colors, going portrait instead of landscape, and at least one person painted on the diagonal.

Every now and then, I’d stop for a moment to take a sip of wine and look around the room to see how everyone’s project was coming along. These were some of the comments I heard:

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

But I heard a lot of encouraging words, too. Every painter seemed to have a mini cheering committee. Strangers were complimenting their table mates as if they were old friends. The only criticisms I heard at all were self-criticisms.

When the classed neared its end, I walked around to see the final products. They were amazing–each and every one of them. It was fascinating to see so many different interpretations of the same prototype.

I have to admit, toward the end of the evening, I started to feel a little anxious. I was caught off guard when I noticed some people were already cleaning up. How had the time flown by so quickly? I still had so many touch-ups and adjustments to make. But I quickly realized that was a good thing. Left to my own timeline, I’d have spent at least another hour tweaking the tree branches and rocks.

But done is better than perfect, right? Clearly, corks and canvas was another lesson in imperfection for me.

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