Perfection Doesn't Exist

© Natasha Newton 2018

© Natasha Newton 2018

If, like me, you suffer from perfection-itis (a terrible affliction where you’re constantly striving for perfection in a world where perfection doesn’t exist), please take this as a sign that you need to stop! I’ll tell you why:

1. ‘Done’ is better than ‘perfect’. I heard this a while ago and it’s stuck with me ever since. I have to fight against my perfectionist tendencies daily in order to get anything to the stage of completion. But basically, if you’re always waiting until a project is absolutely perfect - or you’re totally ready with everything in place - before launching it... well, you’re probably never going to get to the stage where you share it with anyone! Make a start on whatever it is you want to do, accept that it’s not going to be “perfect“, share it with people anyway, and just learn and improve as you go along! This is some of the best advice I’ve ever received as it gives me the kick up the backside I need in order to get things out there before I talk myself out of it all together, or procrastinate for so long that I never actually do anything about that great idea I had back in 2016...

2. Perfection doesn’t actually exist, so you’re striving for something completely unattainable. This prevents you from enjoying what you already have and celebrating those small victories that deserve to be acknowledged and celebrated.

3. People aren’t perfect; they change their minds and make decisions based upon how they feel at that moment, and a multitude of other reasons, both internal and external. The idea that you have to be 100% one thing or the other is a very dangerous way of thinking. The belief that you have to 100% follow a particular diet or exercise routine - and if you don’t, you’ve somehow “failed” - is dangerous. Eat well most of the time, and then treat yourself when you feel like like it. Any form of exercise is better than no exercise - so if you don’t manage your 10,000 steps each day, it doesn’t matter. Do 3,000 or 4,000 - it’s better than 0. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing; “perfection” or “failure”. So today, let’s shake off that demon of perfection, just do our best and have fun doing it! Have a lovely week!

A Fresh Start

An evening in the studio working on a commission. January 2019 © Natasha Newton

An evening in the studio working on a commission. January 2019 © Natasha Newton

Commissioned landscape in progress. January 2019 © Natasha Newton

Commissioned landscape in progress. January 2019 © Natasha Newton

Hello and welcome to my blog, whether you’re a new reader or someone who has been following my work online for a while! I’ve blogged on and off for around the past 10 years or so; sometimes regularly and at other times sporadically. I’ve been meaning to get back to posting regularly on here for a while, particularly as I decided I would no longer have a mailing list back in May 2018. I found it was a lot of time and effort for very little gain, and my time would be better spent making sure my Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts were regularly updated with new work, information about upcoming shop updates, and other (hopefully) interesting or inspiring content! I can reach tens of thousands of people this way, but only a couple of hundred via the mailing list, so this seems like the intelligent thing to do.

I’m someone who likes to experiment and try new things when it comes to my art; I try not to “play it safe" too much, so this year I’ll be branching out in new directions and pushing myself out of my comfort zone a little bit more. When you hit upon an idea that becomes popular, It’s easy to keep repeating that idea over and over. You know it will sell well or gain a lot of attention via social media (thereby helping to spread the word about your work), and it’s so tempting to just stick with that. However, to me, that’s not what it means to be an artist. I don’t just want to paint landscapes and birds. I’ve recently been working on a series of seascapes, and I’ve started expanding my usual colour palette to include greens and warmer autumnal colours, rather than my usual cool blues and greys. I occasionally like to experiment with abstract painting, and I like to paint on stones, slate, sea glass, beach pottery and other objects, rather than just canvas or paper. I use acrylics, watercolours, acrylic ink, gouache (including a new type of gouache called Acryla which has some of the properties of both acrylic paint and gouache), ink pen, coloured pencils, and so on. I’m starting to experiment more with hand-lettering and finding ways to incorporate that into my work. At the end of 2018, I had an idea to paint on vintage Observer’s Books and I’m truly enjoying creating artwork on these already beautiful objects - and it seems you love them too, so thank you for that! I want to expand into offering greetings cards, larger prints and posters, stationery, and various products with my artwork on them. I’m working on a few ideas at the moment which I hope to be able to share with you soon.

Writing has always been something I’ve enjoyed that is also very important to me, and with the encouragement of my followers on Instagram, I’ve been writing longer posts on there where I share more about my life as an artist and small business owner, and as someone who lives with sometimes debilitating migraines and anxiety. I don’t let either of those stop me from being who I am or from living my life, even though it’s not easy sometimes, and I try to pass on any tips and advice I’ve learned over the years in the hope that it will help others. I’ve also been through some pretty difficult times in my life (who hasn’t? I think if you get to a certain age and you haven’t had anything tough to deal with, then you’re very lucky!), but through my art and writing I will be trying to pass on what I’ve learned about achieving good mental health, dealing with toxic people, and generally just looking after yourself so that you’re able to live a better life. I’m also in the process of writing and illustrating a book about an entirely different topic - I’m currently just starting on that journey, so more about that another time! I’ve had to put it on hold for a few months as I became busy with other projects, but will be getting back to it soon. I wrote an article for Breathe magazine last year, and I’d love to start writing for publications on a more regular basis. As you can see, there are so many things I’d like to do and for many years I allowed fear to hold me back, but not anymore! 2019 is the year I attempt to do whatever I feel like doing, and I’ll hope you’ll join me on my journey. Let’s have some fun!