ty cobb’s career batting average over 24 seasons was .366. this is the number of hits divided by the number of at-bats. i know that is an extraordinary batting average and yet my math-brain looks at that and thinks, “wow. that’s shy of 37%! only 37%!” what if only 37% of my recordings were complete? or 37% of dinners cooked all the way? or 37% of the work for our employers done? or 37% chance of wearing appropriate clothing outside our home? disregarding the possibility of grading on a curve, my school-brain thinks, “37% does not look like an A!” so when david went on about how his painting has been a miss, i thought, “well heck! you need to lower the bar a bit!”
artists are harsh. we are generally not self-congratulatory, although there is definitely a percentage that defies that. we have a vision of where a project is going and we will jump at the chance for perfecting it every time. there is a point when you know; the time has come to stop, start over, wipe clean the slate. (pfffft – can you hear lifting up the cellophane on those cool vintage magic slates made of cardboard and equipped with a plastic stylus?) david walks away from the easel, huffing. i walk away from the piano, sighing. the muse has left the room before us. at least that is what we invariably think, when it’s our own work.
and yet, it’s so often the case that i will stare at his work, downstairs on the easel and think, “wait! stop! don’t do ANYthing! it’s perfect!” but it’s his project and his creation and he fought with the vision he had in his head. they disagreed; they went to battle and the easel reigned supreme time and again as he walked away, disgruntled.
for me, the third iteration of this painting (see above) is the moment. he could have stopped right there and i would have loved it. it had a dreamy, surreal quality to it. it was graceful and lovely. i’d say at the very least a .375. ty would be proud.