Back when I was an undergrad in the theatre department at the University of Georgia, we had a snarky saying whenever some aspect of the set or costuming was — shall we say — a bit ragged: "They'll never see it past the second row." And as my costume professor, the estimable Dr. Jackson Kesler, put it, "If they're looking at your uneven hem, the show has bigger problems than that hem."
It was not an excuse for sloppy work, but rather a recognition that sometimes the effect for which you were striving did not rely on "perfection."
Case in point: tonight I will join an unknown number of people in Greenville St Park here in Newnan, GA, to participate in Phil Kline's Unsilent Night. (I say 'unknown' because it's our first year. It may be just me and three other people, or it could be a crowd.) Along with our boomboxes and Bluetooth speakers, we will carry lanterns that some of us have created at Backstreet Arts this past month.
I bought a fair number of paper lanterns in various sizes, and people were free to decorate them however they saw fit with whatever media they preferred. I made four using tissue paper and matte medium.
Here's my first:
As you can see, exactitude — "perfection" — was not my goal. After all, this is going to be carried down a street above the heads of spectators. Who's going to be examining the lanterns for "perfection"?
Here's my last one, in progress:
Randomly shaped tesserae jigsawed across the surface, with the plan being to paint over the joints with acrylic paint to give a stained glass effect.
So yesterday morning I took the lantern out to the back yard to enjoy the weather and paint the leading for the stained glass.
Have a closer look:
Pretty gross. I for one am appalled.
Here's the point: never let "perfection" be your excuse not to move on from SUCCESSIVE APPROXIMATION to ABANDONMENT. Yes, if I were producing this lantern for some kind of charity auction event where people would be examining it carefully, then a cleaner application of paper and paint would be called for. But for a festival event, which Unsilent Night is, "good enough" is actually good enough.
So if you're in the Newnan area tonight, download the Unsilent Night app and join us between 7:00–7:15 in the park for a lovely time.