“Painting Over Perfectionism: J.R.R. Tolkien and the Healing Power of Beauty”
Posted on Monday, November 21, 2022
On November 10th, Sister Agnes Rose gave a Brown Bag Lecture entitled “Painting Over Perfectionism: J.R.R. Tolkien and the Healing Power of Beauty”. The lecture was based on Tolkien’s short story “Leaf by Niggle”, which follows the journey of an artist who struggles with perfectionism and can only paint detailed leaves, rather than the magnificent tree he envisions. After learning detachment and growing in discipline through a purgatorial experience, the artist comes to a heavenly land where he discovers the subject of his painting before his eyes. The tree is more beautiful than he could ever have imaged on his own, and Niggle is left marveling at the gift he has received. The lecture looked at the manner in which the virtue of Fortitude, and its sub-virtues, patience, perseverance, and magnanimity are necessary for overcoming perfectionism. Following the lecture, a watercolor workshop occurred in which participants learned the basic techniques for painting a still-life.