Relativity Theory…As I Speed Up, My Work Slows Down

Einstein was such a brain!  His thought experiments  showed  that time begins to slow down as the one moving increases her speed.  This is called time dilation.  As I work on my icons I have gone into a relativity vortex.  This realization struck as I prepared my icons to be exhibited in a sacred art show.

With 95% of my icon completed, I began the final preparations.   This included the varnishing, touching up, and addition of attribution information and hanging hardware on the back. Having spent about 100 hours painting the icon, I assumed these last “housekeeping” tasks would be a snap, maybe several hours at best.  But as several hours led to several more, I realized I had made a critical error in judgment, and I tried to work more quickly in an effort to finish.  As the hours increased, so did the amount of work yet unfinished.  In touching up lines, I created new errors needing even more touching up.  A deadline was rapidly approaching, yet it seemed I was no nearer to completion. Gilding repairs refused to approach completion.  Frustration reigned supreme.  I was not in the flow.

Up until recently, I had not concerned myself with the business of art. Dilettante that I was, I believed the art and craft of the icon painting was paramount.  But slowly the idea and value of sharing my work began to coalesce in my mind.  And with it came a new list of tasks to make it so. Instead of hastily attempting these final tasks, I needed to approach them as part of the process.  I needed to S..L..O..W down.  As I began to do this, the rate of creating new errors also slowed, time sped up — these vectors all finally converging on a zero point that had thus-far eluded me.

Who knew ?  —  the laws of physics had something to teach me about the art of iconography.



About Olga Dytyniak

artist, librarian poet, byzantine icon painter, perennial student. Join me on
This entry was posted in failure as the path, learning, sharing techniques and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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