The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality.
His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot – albeit a perfect one – to get an “A”.
Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.
I absolutely love this. Here's my two cents: I definitely think it's important to balance quality and quantity. Not every picture needs to be a masterpiece but it's also important to take your time. I wrote a small journal on the matter here. What I personally take away from this is that if a picture isn't working out, just finish it, no matter how much you hate it, and move onto a new project. Overworking something is time consuming and frustrating, especially if the mistake is on a fundamental level and can't be fixed easily. Instead of focusing on perfection, just do your best and focus on getting things done. You can't improve on an empty canvas!
What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree, and how does it apply to you?