The Art of Abandoning Perfection

We work hard. We study. We apply makeup. We diet. We exercise. We overthink. We sacrifice. We do all of this and more to achieve freedom from fault or defect, otherwise known as perfection.

However, there is a quote traveling around the internet—being pinned, posted and tweeted—that contradicts the definition of perfection. The words, attributed to Anh Ngo, read “Imperfection is a form of freedom.”

Although one Thibodaux native had found commercial success and critical acclaim through her artwork, she still had an internal struggle with perfection. Now, after reinventing herself and her work, she embraces her imperfections and is free to create artwork that is more natural and true to herself.

When Caroline Therese Boudreaux thinks back to her early childhood, she can’t recall the first time she picked up a paintbrush or pencil. “It’s just something I’ve always done,” she says.

Caroline was fortunate enough to be born in a family that embraced the arts. Her grandmother, Mary Boudreaux, is another renowned artist here in the Bayou Region. Mary taught Caroline the fundamentals early on, but Caroline says she never felt pressure from her grandmother to live up to expectations.

“She really taught me everything—my entire base of understanding of paints and different mediums,” Caroline says. “It was always an exciting and a fun thing that I wanted to do. I never really felt like insecure or pressured…I’m sure it had everything to do with the way she presented it and taught me.”

Having a more introverted personality in her adolescent years, Caroline discovered she was always more comfortable traveling in the universes she created.

“…And whenever I was younger, it was really just my way to escape and make up these worlds. Whatever I was obsessed with at the time, I could just get lost in that for hours, just drawing, painting and doing whatever,” she shares. “I just knew that it was going to be something that I did forever—in whatever capacity that was.”

That’s why for her choosing to study graphic design at LSU was a “no brainer”. After receiving her bachelor’s, Caroline went on to have a celebrated career in graphic design and digital art, working for such companies as Tilt, Ann Connelly Fine Art, Southern Marsh Collection and currently, Level Homes.

But before she received recognition in the digital art realm, she had achieved local fame in the traditional art scene—painting highly sought-after pet portraits.

“I kind of became a pet portraitist by accident,” Caroline laughs. “I did one for a friend as a gift and posted it to Facebook—maybe 2007—and that was it. I posted that, and from there I had eight years of pet portraits.”

Caroline’s vibrant, expressive yet detailed pet portraits were an internet sensation, featured in various magazines including Point of Vue and kept the young artist extremely busy for years. “The most satisfying part of that was the response I would get from people whenever I would show them the paintings for the first time. People would get so excited; some would cry,” she remembers.

She loved the joy emitting from her clients after receiving their portraits. Yet, the local creator still strived to create something new and “perfect” that more reflected her own personal style.

“I tried many different styles, but everything felt too structured, planned and unnatural. The perfection I strived to achieve with everything I created was exhausting and sometimes paralyzing,” says Caroline on her website, “It wasn’t until I decided to completely let go and welcome imperfections as a beautiful and necessary part of the process, that I began to find my way.”

Her growing appreciation for interior design, self-exploration and letting go of her need for perfection led her to create her current magnum opus—art often mimicking the human figure, plants and egrets. “Loose brush strokes, dripping paint, movement and imperfections worked together to create rich artwork, full of depth and character that I was proud to call my own,” she says.

Now, Caroline shares this more liberating artwork with others—hoping to bring the same peace and happiness she found in creating these images to her customers.

“I create these things because I want to create an environment that people feel good in and feel proud of…And I feel like art can just change a space completely,” Caroline expresses. “Even if you don’t know if you have the space for it—if you love it enough—you’re going to find a space for it and be happy that you have it.”

Her work is regularly displayed at Thibodaux’s House of Fashion. Her next public showing is on March 9 at Mid City Makers Market in Baton Rouge. Art enthusiasts can follow Caroline on Instagram: @carolinethereseart and/or sign up for emails on her website. “I want to reach out and find the people who would love what I do,” she shares.

“Don’t give up on trying to find your thing, even if it takes years. When you get there, it feels so good and is so worth it,” Caroline says to all aspiring creatives. “It is still difficult at times for me to share my work, but I can say there is no reason to be worried. If it makes you happy, share it…”