Wiley Studio Window: The Quest For “Good Enough”

  • 12/10/2016

Wiley Studio strives for perfection – but never gets it.

Such is the “quest” for creators of anything.

There are no perfect cars, cameras, books, buildings, appliances – or, people.

So, because Dixie and I are “just people” what we create will also necessarily be imperfect.

But we accept the challenge – continue to strive for perfection – and will role out our imperfect works one by one.

We see all the flaws – as you may – but keep going – and in that “going” we get better at what we do.

It is said that “Practice Makes Perfect”, but what that may really mean is that even a masterpiece just has fewer flaws.


So, if none of our works will ever be perfect, and they’ll all fall somewhere on a scale of from “okay” to “pretty darn good”, how do we know when we are “done” with something?

Our Answer; when we think we have reached a compromise of “good enough”; when the “pros” outweigh the “cons”.

If we held to a strict standard of absolute perfection we’d drive ourselves nuts – and never get anything “done” for ourselves, America, or anyone.

We’d always be trapped in a vortex of correcting, discarding, and restarting… …or never starting at all.

We’d be “spinning without winning”.

So, we’ve realized that we need to find that place where something created is “good enough”; then leave it alone, role it out, and get away from it.

Like the Chicago CUBS, we don’t give up, we “play ball” because it is worth playing, and strive for that day when “pretty darn good” is achieved.

The CUBS wouldn’t have won the 2016 World Series if they had given up, right?


The following three works show what we mean by reaching a level of “good enough”.

Pro and Con viewer comments follow each.


Shell Jar

Tasseled Bottle Conch


Dixie’s loves to create Bottle Art and her attitude toward it is simple; she just “roles ‘em out” one after another – and doesn’t overly agonize.

I like them. They have a welcome “down home” character that softens the heart and makes our home a “home”.

Sure, she searches to get past the “okay” to enter the realm of “pretty darn good” but doesn’t fret when something falls short of expectations.

Like a “Good CUBBIE” she just keeps going, and her results get ever better.

I admire her for this.



Mix of natural and man-made elements…

Simple black and white is a plus…

The black tassel is unexpected and welcome…

Nice distressed painting technique…


The conch is slightly off-vertical…




Drying Pelican

We are photographers too – and while we know that top of the line cameras with large sensors and expensive glass can produce extraordinary results – we use what to us is “good enough”.

Some of our best photos were taken with cell phones, pocket cams, and smaller mirrorless gear.

We’ve found that just getting the shot is more important – and a few of our captures are “good enough”.

This is one of Dixie’s favorites… …done with a Panasonic G2 @ 300mm (600mm equivalent)…



Focuses in on interesting Pelican behavior…

Nice background bokeh…

Great pose…


Pelican eye is not in sharp focus…



Battlefield Sketch

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Friends have made positive comments on the raw Gettysburg Re-Enactment Battlefield Sketches I produced.

They were drawn fast on the spot, capture live action, are full of flaws, and yet some have a straightforward engaging quality that just “gets there”.

Imagine what it took to do this; immersed in loud live action, making the physical effort to get into the right spot to capture the right moment, and combining reckless abandon with skill and speed.

Having done this as a Civil War Re-Enactment Battlefield Illustrator makes me appreciate the fearlessness, effort, and skill of those who produced sketches during actual battles.

We owe them. They made it possible to experience live battlefield action as it unfolded for the first time in history. Cameras weren’t fast enough to do that at the time.

The “16” in the upper right-hand corner refers to how long it took to get in place, select the action, and finish the raw sketch.



Twisted forward weight of rider in saddle is true to the action…

Upward look, pistol, stance of horse, and sweep lines accentuate downhill movement…


Horse anatomy could use some work… …to say the least…


View our illustrations, photographs, and decorative art at Wiley Studio Scott & Dixie Wiley, and Wiley Studio Market.