Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tools of the Trade: Perseverance

You can't buy this at the local art store or take a class at your local college. This is something that you need to muster up deep inside you in order to go beyond a dabbler to really realizing your potential as a painter.

I was reading a post on The Simple Dollar (a great finance blog) and in it there is a great little story about what 50 pounds of clay can teach you. The premise is that if a group was divided into 2 and one was asked to produce quality, and the other to produce quantity - the ones who produced quantity actually made higher quality stuff.

The gist of this is that people who are working are getting things done by practicing, practicing, practicing. The ones who sat around talking about perfection never really took the time and worked the kinks out.

I have found this to be true in my own work. When I've been producing ACEO or Painting Studies at a fast paced rate, my hand eye coordination improves, my eye for composition is keener and I am very often looking at the world through the eyes of a painter.

When one rests on minor successes of the past I view it as a sign of stagnation. Viewing a minor distinction as an indication of future success isn't developing or progressing. The more one develops I think the more they find that they have so much more to explore and offer to their craft.

If someone tells me all the could'ves of their life (I could've been a rock star, could've been a pro athlete) I lose interest pretty fast. Usually discussions like this prove that this person has never actually attempted even the smallest fraction of what it takes to become the top of their game.

I think some of the best artists out there are the best because they are prolific. Constantly changing, exploring, developing. Willing to risk things, willing to fail. Repeating past successes rarely takes someone to the top.

I'm not at the top of my game, not sure I ever will be. One thing I do know: I have found that with daily posting on my blog, selling at auction (even if I don't get rich from it), posting my rougher unfinished work and behind the scenes stuff has given me a great boost as an artist. I'm motivated, I have a deadline, I have a purpose for what I'm doing.

Hopefully I can keep growing and changing, producing my 50 pounds and eventual quality.


Veronica Funk said...

LOVE that photo!

Michelle said...

Hee hee - it was taken last fall in Kanasaskis. I didn't realize until I was almost at the top that I had forgotten my helmet.

Alvin Richard said...

I really applaud your courage for rock climbing. I'm gradually losing my fear of heights by challenging myself whenever I can, but it gives me the ''whollies'' just looking at you. And I agree with your thinking. For anyone to produce something that ressembles art, you have to move out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. It's in the doing that the magic happens, not in the thinking.

Your illustration work is always a joy to look at, and I see that you are very busy!!!