Imperfect Man










I once concentrated on drawing a fruit tree and it took hours. My powers of concentration would wane and the line would be broken. I would follow the perimeter with my eyes as an arc then I would stop for each intersection, except that I went over or under. I have a hard time drawing this way. It is like the police officer asking you to close your eyes and touch your fingers in front of you, or when he asks you to stand on one leg. I had a broken form every time but I realized that a broken form was deviant, and deviance was expected in great artists.

OK, maybe not. Great artists actually know how to draw and their images indicate pain-staking attention.

Still, there was an air of whimsy in the picture because things in reality have whimsy. They are imperfect in a perfect way.

I kept drawing that fruit tree, when the lines were harder to see at night, I strained my eyes in the middle of that area just before the gate to Mt. Diablo. The cows had gone. The horses had gone. I drew long into the night because once I finished the outline of the tree, I then had to follow each line to an intersection in the leaf and to another leaf, etc. I would always have to come back to the intersection to continue the line I was working on. That way you can always come back to a point that you can look at the tree to find and continue because a thing is a series of intersecting points.

I felt I was not cut out for being an artist, and perhaps no profession for that matter, because it would seem that the best in their class had the capacity to copy a form perfectly.

I ended up using a projector. Projecting images onto paper that I had placed on a wall. I did this in pastels for a lover. She must have known. The last time I saw her the picture was gone. The picture I drew was better than the photograph I had taken. The colors were vivid, pinks and blacks, and the frame was gold. The only picture she had of mine was one of fog and trees, a photograph. Perhaps, she knew that it was me, at least in terms of my composing it. I do have a good eye.

I also painted a picture of another lover. I employed the projector, but I realized that the paint covered the lines. I had to study the picture, mix paint, and then try to copy what I saw. It actually turned out to look exactly like the photograph of her (think Andy Warhol), except that I covered over some detail in her face.  Still, she loves the painting and so do I.

I think that I have a learning disability, as I said, I can almost never connect the form as in coming to a full circle. Something happens. I get distracted and go off in another direction.

I tell myself it probably doesn’t matter, such a drawing of a tree or a person is probably broken anyway and Pablo Picasso said that the painting was really about the person painting it.

I guess I am broken, inattentive, and tired.

Each morning, I wake too soon. I sleep at 4AM, for example, and then wake at 10AM to go to the bathroom. Or 11AM and I force myself to write the first thought that comes to mind and I end up writing 3-4 pages or spend about a half-hour, after which I am exhausted.

I open myself to a train of thought until what it seems to be saying is gone. The point of the drawing is that I cannot be a success because everything I do is only a beginning, never the end. I don’t follow through. I linger not taking the LSAT or the GRE. I look over the precipice and am afraid to do what it takes to succeed or at least to move beyond regret and jump.

A girl told me that all I have to do is to study for the LSAT test for three months in my spare time and then I would pass with the high scores that she did. I was planning to write a book about the process for artists, who like me think in visual terms.

The discontinued shape says a lot about other discontinued shapes. I hate it when people make fun of me when they are broken too. They might not have ever tried to draw a shape, since in the case of someone I know, he shakes so obviously because he drinks. I could become as mean as he, but what would that make me? Still, if I told him it might wake him. He actually thinks he’s a real man because he drinks everyday and he can still work in the process. I feel that once I cross the line however, I can never go back.  Nobody’s perfect and this movement toward perfect people forgets that most people aren’t meant for menial labor. Instead, they were made to live their lives and work to support that life, but in moderation, not like those who are hiding a psychological weakness by overworking, unless of course they actually love what they do. Oh boy, are they lucky! Some, however, if they sat still would go crazy.

Instead, I think I will say a prayer. God always answers me in these moments, where I am under attack and he removes those who attack me. I’ll simply ask God this time to remove them or move me.

I think it was in the book Death in Venice and Other Stories by Thomas Mann that I got the idea that you can run off to Venice, for example, to change your life, but you can never escape yourself. So even while I say my prayer and the person or the problem is removed, I remain imperfect.


  1. Look at this painting and you tell me:,_Le_Moulin_de_la_Galette.jpg or this one:,_On_the_Terrace.jpg or this one:,_1875,_Claude_Monet,_oil_on_canvas,_84_x_60.5_cm,_Musée_d%27Orsay,_Paris.jpg

    And because my argument was born out of the impression, pun not intended, that cubism is a form of impressionism or at least it has the allusion of an inability to craft reality or draw well, See: “The Impressionists had used a double point of view, and both Les Nabis and the Symbolists (who also admired Cézanne) flattened the picture plane, reducing their subjects to simple geometric forms.” Taken from Wikipedia, I was thinking of Picasso, who also knew how to draw, but you may not think so, but see:

    This should settle the argument: Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Study of a Woman’s Head (1865), courtesy The Frick Collection – See more at:

  2. Fortunately we are imperfect. Imperfection makes us different and not society’s sheep and so imperfection becomes a springboard for creation and self-improvement. Nature is always imperfect like our face is not symetric. You can never escape yourself. You have to come terms with imperfection. Thank you for making us think about this current topic in a society that tends to uniformity. Regards from Sant Boi, very near Barcelona.

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