Letting Enough be Enough


i remember watching the Winter Olympics with my mom when i was a kid. She always marveled at how easy the figure skaters made their routines look. They never grimaced or showed any strain, no matter how impossible the jump or stunt. The seeming effortlessness was the amazing part. It was the idea that just because something looks simple, doesn’t mean it is. And it certainly doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful. In fact, its the simplicity that MAKES it beautiful.

So i’ve been hearing mom’s voice echoing in my head lately as i’ve been challenging myself to embrace simplicity in my latest works.

Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that i feel comfortable with detail…even to excess. i love filling a page with chaos & color, and making it appear harmonious. It’s like a puzzle. Super fun! But lately i’ve been increasingly drawn to more quiet and effortless (seeming) images.

i’ve been trying my hand at some. And you know what? To me, they are SO much more difficult to execute! Every line is more important. Every color choice is more significant. My editing eye is getting more of a workout than it ever has before. Learning to recognize when a piece is “finished” is becoming a new skill set for me.

And it has become a bit of a consuming zen practice for me to allow enough to be enough.

Take the artwork above. It was hard to “stop” because a part of me wondered if folks would be satisfied with it? Will they think it looks finished? Will they wonder why i’ve tried something so different? and be left wanting for more? i mean, we all want to be “more,” right? We all want to please the ones around us. We fear letting folks down.

But i’m testing out the waters anyway. Can’t be backing down from a personal challenge, now can i?

So i’ll extend MY challenge you SG readers. Be conscious today of times when you do more…just for the sake of doing more.

And see if you can stop yourself whenever you recognize that enough really is enough.

17 thoughts on “Letting Enough be Enough

  1. What a great post Stephanie! I know exactly what you mean. With my paintings I’m always struggling between that place of not going far enough and going too far. I’m a detail person too and I find that simplicity is so beautiful to look at and so hard to do.
    But I really love your challenge of carrying this thought over into our day. Thank you for sharing. It’s something I will be thinking about a lot today. :)

  2. Great challenge to give yourself! And if you try to also set aside the pressure to please anyone but yourself and just have fun with this as an exercise, I bet you’ll learn a lot to take with you into your future projects.

    Thanks for the inspiration. :)

  3. I’m right there with you Stephanie! It seems all I ever do is try to cram in more. I think it’s a sign of the times too, we’re just inundated with too much all the time, so we start to believe we need to always behave that way.
    I’ve noticed I’m doing your zen thing with my home right now – I’ve spent years squirreling away much too much stuff. And now I’m craving space and openness. (still working on finding the extra time to make that happen – time is one area where more would still be very very nice!)

  4. You’ve just jabbed a pin right in my problem! In preparation for a handmade market, friends and family have all asked me the same thing…’are you going to make more?’
    I thought my range and amount of goodies was enough, but I’m flooded with doubt. I’m anxious to make more. After reading this timely post of yours I’m thinking twice: Am I making just for the sake of making?

    Thank you for the thought provocation.

    1. i hear you melanie. i only did a couple shows ever and was always nervous about having enough. you know your customers better than anyone…what’s the worst that can happen? you sell out completely? great problem to have! : )

  5. I have to admit, the first piece I ever saw (and bought) of yours was the quote print “who’s job is it exactly to decide if I’m a success?”. It’s just the kind of thing that I love and I think you knew exactly when was just enough!

    But I’m trying to do more! I’ve always been more of a minimalist and adding more has been a problem for me. I guess we all have our creative issues!

  6. Your words (and work) are inspiring. As an artist I’ve found it hard to trust when my work is “done” and often sought feedback from friends and family when I should just trust myself. I’ve only just started doing what you are advocating today with my sketches (I’m participated in “The Sketchbook Project”) and have kept my drawings simple. I’m enjoying the journey of art with this approach. Thank YOU for this challenge and I must say your work is beautiful. Cheers!

  7. I have been thinking about “enough” in terms of consumption. We are bombarded each day with many, many messages that we should buy more of this and the latest that. It takes skill to recognize when we are satisfied with what we have, and to reject all the buy messages.

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