Sunday, May 1, 2016

Lessons From Triangles

This piece of art has been teaching me a lesson.

Inspired by a graphic print named Big Pieces and created by Little Studio Design, I decided to tweak the original to improvise my own version.

Which I did. The finished product is now hanging on the wall of my home office, just behind my left shoulder as I write these words. Family and friends have given my handiwork the thumbs up and you'd think I would have moved on to the Happily Ever After phase of our life together.

But those bright triangles speak to me, humble me, knock me down to size whenever I walk past.

Here's why.

See, I made this piece by cutting triangles from paint chips. Making precise measurements and using my paper cutter with extreme care, I did everything in my power to create triangles that were exactly the same size, and would therefore fit together perfectly in the composition.


I was not interested in "close enough." 

And though I brought all my mathematical skills OCD tendencies to bear on this puzzle, I did not succeed in creating perfection. There are, in several places, tiny white gaps between the triangles. And where the tips of several triangles meet, they are, in several places, slightly misaligned.

Oy vey.

As I discovered this ugly truth, my daughters consoled me. "Pish," they said comfortingly, "That's nothing...we barely notice those tiny imperfections."

But I noticed them. And I stewed over them.

I peeled some of the triangles off and reglued them.
I recut several triangles to make them fit more exactly.
I considered starting over.
I thought about throwing the whole thing out.

But a little voice from the triangles - a voice much wiser than the crazy voices inside my head - said, Stop. Let it be.

And I realized that this creation had become a poignant metaphor for one of my most persistent faults.


If life is a colorful mosaic of hand-cut triangles - and I'm willing to entertain that notion - then a few tiny white gaps between the pieces are to be expected. Compared to the bold colors, delicate symmetry and pleasing proportions of the shapes, those white slivers are nothing. In fact, one might even argue that the lines of white imperfection draw more attention to the lively triangles which they outline, adding to their rambunctious spirits. 

From that observation, it's not much of a leap to see the lesson laid out before my eyes. Imperfections are not only a part of life, but they increase the delight of our days.

Okay, okay, okay. I get it. I understand. And deep down inside, I agree.

But still, every day as I walk past this piece, my eyes leap right to the gaps and I ask myself, once again, "Please can I rip off all the triangles and start over??"

No, my artwork answers me. Stop. Let it be.

Smart little triangles.

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