Leonardo Da Vinci, quite possibly the most prolific creative in all of human history, once wrote a line that was both surprising and inspiring…
Art is never finished only abandoned.
It hits harder when you take a closer look at his own art, discoveries and inventions that he considers “abandoned” rather than actually finished…
Da Vinci theorized plate tectonics, he designed the world’s first military tank 400 years ago (as well as the parachute, the glider and the helicopter), he created a mechanical robot knight, he was a pioneer in human anatomy (cutting open corpses to see how emotions impacted the movement of muscles, tendons and ligaments) and he’s responsible for creating what is widely considered the greatest painting in the world, the Mona Lisa.
This doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.
The artist, inventor and thinker was notorious for leaving paintings and findings and inventions unfinished (both literally and figuratively).
There were times where he would stop a painting halfway through, realizing his skill hadn’t yet developed, throw a sheet over it and then revisit the piece a decade or so down the road when he had drastically improved as an artist.
Early on in Da Vinci’s career, he had what Ira Glass today defines as killer taste. Being that he was born in an era of truly brilliant artists, he knew what “good” art looked like. But, like most budding creatives, he didn’t always have the skills (at least initially) to create this “good” art himself.
But, isn’t all art technically abandoned?
Da Vinci’s surprising and inspiring approach to art is a reminder to the rest of us to create, no matter how bad nor how good.
It’s a reminder that today, in this moment, we are the best artists we’ve ever been, and at the same time, the worst artists we will ever be.
It’s worthwhile to read that last bit once more:
Today, in this moment, we are the best artists we’ve ever been, and at the same time, the worst artists we will ever be.
This should be both empowering and humbling.
It should empower us to put a pen to paper or a brush to canvas, knowing we’re the greatest we’ve ever been… while at the same time recognizing that “perfection” (if there is such a word) is still worlds away from us.
As a writer, I will also tell you that this concept of art being abandoned can be taken more literally, too.
Very rarely do creatives put out work that feels finished; truly finished.
Take The Mona Lisa for example… eventually, Da Vinci had to decide to take his brush off the canvas and abandon the painting entirely.
So, I would even go so far as to say that while much of creating brilliant art is having the courage to try and risk making something bad… it’s also about knowing when you’ve made something good and recognizing it’s time to walk away.
But, I digress.
By Cole Schafer.
You gotta check this out — Sticky Notes is my email list reserved strictly for entrepreneurs and creatives looking to sell like a Florida Snow Cone Vendor on the hottest day of the year.
Originally published at www.honeycopy.com on April 3, 2020.