Our Perfectly Imperfect Lives

September 18, 2016 – Pto. Cayo, Ecuador

The life of a fisherman is one of perpetual hope. Each evening he leaves the shore for a night of hard ocean labor, hoping this will be the time he hoists in the “big one.”

It’s like that for me as an artist. I’m constantly casting about for that perfectly expressive image – one that will capture the depth of our humanity. Sometimes I only hook a small idea and I end up having to throw it back. Most often, my creative fishing expeditions net me a “perfectly imperfect” catch.

Take this vision I had for painting Ecuador’s “Pescadores” as they are bringing in the morning catch. I just knew if I got up early-early I would witness the old man and the sea. Apparently my gringo definition of early was flawed, for the fish were long gone to market when I arrived. Instead I found a glaring sunrise, and tired men sorting though their

tangled nets. Even the birds, having gorged on fish heads, were calming down.

Disappointed, I shot some obligatory photos of fishing net piles and wayward birds. I pretty much ignored what the men were doing. It was only later in the studio, I began to piece together the elements of what was actually there. I almost missed a magical moment because I was looking for a perfect one.

How often, do you suppose, each of us does that every day?

MY CONCLUSION: I’m still looking for the big idea…but I’ve resolved that henceforth I’ll also appreciate the perfect imperfection that makes my life sweet.

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