We all too often have a stack of those huge projects around here. Long before we start, I always have a mental image of how they should appear once completed. Invariably, my imagined finished piece seems so much more grand and perfect than seems possible with the parts and pieces I have laid out before me. But I have faith that it can be done, and done right. All it takes is remembering that the Art is in the Details.
One of my favorite artists is Salvador Dali. As an art major, I can appreciate his technique, but as a creative person, I often wonder about his thought process – from idea to canvas (or other medium). I think my favorite work of Dali’s is his Gala Nude/Abraham Lincoln. When you look at the painting up close, you see the back of a woman who seems to be gazing into a window carved out of a wall of colorful blocks. However, if you step back from the painting, all you see is the portrait of Abraham Lincoln. It is called ‘Dali Vision’ for a reason – it is all in the way you look at the painting.
To me, my farm began as a blank canvas. How it will look when it is finished really is going to depend on the detail work. I can throw a fence up in a day, but the finished project is going to look that way, and more than likely won’t hold up over time. We are in the process of repairing a section of fence that the cows managed to tear down. Overall, it will take about a week to complete – due to the detail work the Country Boy does in anything he tackles. While watching him work, I am amazed at the amount of detail he is putting into it. Iron pipe used for posts measured to an exacting length. Placement of those posts. Tools like welders, levels, pliers, cement, and more. With this attention to detail, that fence will probably last another ten to twenty years. But the best part is that the fence will look like it will stand forever, and will be straight and neat. A work of Art, if you will.
Ever seen the photos of gardens that look more like a piece of art work than a patch of vegetables? Take a closer look. Can you see the detail that went into planting it? Someone took a lot of time preparing the soil, making straight rows, spacing the plants, weeding, feeding, watering and tending those plants. The end result is a colorful, healthy garden that will produce for a full season and offer enough nutritious food to feed the gardener and his family well into the winter, long after that garden has been disked under.
Take a moment to look around you. It blows my mind to think of all the details God took into consideration when He created this world. Color. Texture. Depth. Even things unseen – air, sound, aromas, touch. Look closely at the flowers. The detail work He used is astounding, and blends together so perfectly it can leave you slack-jawed just to view it.
Regardless of the project or task at hand, there really is Art in the details. Even the simplest task, such as laundry, has an art to it. Clean clothes, fresh from the dryer, folded and stacked can be a beautiful sight – especially after you have worked all day to get it done. Housework takes a lot of attention to detail to get it thoroughly clean and presentable. Imagine a yard in desperate need of mowing, and then think about how it will look when you are finished – like a well-manicured carpet of green. If you pay attention to the small details, your project will come out like a work of Art.
I think it’s time to start changing our perspectives on the drudgery of the projects we have in front of us. Instead of groaning, take a minute to think about how you want the task at hand to look when it’s finished. Then take it one step at a time, focusing on the small details as we go, instead of the overall project. Before you know it, your project will be complete, looking better than you ever dreamed.
The Art really is in the Details.