View Full Version : Is it Time or Talent?

01-14-2008, 02:24 PM
Hi all,
I am sure this has probably been discussed, but it is something I have had in my head alot lately & I guess I am too lazy to go searching forums..

Soooo is it practice or talent that makes a painter great??..

Way back in the day when EVERYbuddy and their dog was taking art lessons at the local craft shops, I joined in. These little workshops were follow along paintings. I was amazed I could paint something recognizable. I remember staring at the first one I did for hrs. It had been my belief that being able to paint was simular to being able to part the Red Sea. It was a GOd given talent, that only a few were chosen to have.

I loved it.. I painted every day almost all day for months. Got pretty good in a fairly short time & thot Hey maybe I am one of the chosen :)) Then I went to my first art show.. WOW...So many beautiful paintings! Now on the internet, there are countless wonderfully gifted, talented, trained ?? painters. It blows my mind to see so many. some of the work on here is as good as some of the old masters. Almost everyday another takes my breath away!

Sooo just curious what others think, What makes a great painter? Honing a skill, or is it simply a gift?? I am sure it is a bit of both, but which, do you think, carries the more weight in the process?

Hope everybuddy has a blessed & HaPpy day!

WC Lee
01-14-2008, 02:51 PM
I, too, believe it is both but honing the skill carries more weigh. But depending on what you mean by "great painter", luck may have a big influence in it.

Deborah Secor
01-14-2008, 02:53 PM
I'm gonna stick my neck out here and say, yes, art is derived from God-given talent. We have eyes to see and hands to use to record what we see and express how it makes us feel. That's the part that's given.

But no, it isn't that kind of talent that makes for a great painter. I've seen way too many exceedingly talented artists fall by the wayside because they didn't have the gumption and could not care less about success (in the eyes of the art world, that is). I've also seen some less-than-wonderfully-talented artists who make it much farther along towards great art because they were so much more driven to do art.

I've had students who had more talent in their little fingers than you and I have together--three I can think of after teaching since 1989. One of those has made a national reputation. The other two are local, one much less well known than the other. I was totally unprepared to have one of these whiz kids walk into my classroom the first time. I felt like I should just sit down and watch what she did for a while so I could learn how to paint... She is so sweet and still credits me as one of her teachers!

Fact is, I don't think I'm a terribly talented painter, but that meant I had to push to figure out what to do. It didn't 'come easy'. No one ever looked at me when I was a kid and said, "ooooo, someday you're gonna be an artist!" I've found out that plain ole hard work and practice has taught me more than you can imagine. I just love painting and I really don't want to stop. In that way it is a God-given gift, and I'm grateful.

I had the husband of a student jokingly ask me one day when his (mature woman of a certain age) wife would get to be as good as I was. I told him to have her paint every day for the next twenty years and he would be amazed! (She loved that answer.) I still think it's good advice, whether you're 20 or 60! Why waste time?


01-14-2008, 03:26 PM

There are people who are keen on this or that area, maybe because they got some genetic inheritance (sp?) and because they like it (very important to like). This is what we may call "talent", I think.
BUT and there's always a but, to be better than the rest, because there are many great workers/thinkers, one has to work hard.
When we look on TV those sports players who are chosen to be winners of the best football player, or the best gymnast trophies, they didn't achieve that just because of talent, they practice hard, not rarely more time than their coleagues.

Kind regards,


01-14-2008, 03:35 PM
Yes, WC, I suppose luck does play a big part.. as in acting, right place @ right time. By great painter I mean, a painter that is exceptional good at rendering a message, not simply a well known artist.. I think there are many many great painters that we will never see their works.

Deborah, I was hoping you would comment here:) I love your paintings. And you being a teacher, well, I supposed you would know the answer. I lost the gumption for awhile there. A very long while actually. I should have stayed with it I suppose. I taught some of those little follow along classes around town for awhile, and I think that is what drained me.
I was teaching women to paint something they wanted to hang over their couches.. Pretty little paintings, that never stretched my skills. It became repetitive, and simply drained the desire to paint from me. I sure have wasted alot of time that I should have been honing. Now that I am back into it, I feel so thristy for it again... Before, I quit before I started really. I Do believe, there are those that God has chosen to use this talent for His Glory... When I saw your worship series, I was so moved. I feel that you are using your God given talent! I am glad you spent the time to hone this gift. I wish I had.
But as they say ... it is never to late :)

01-14-2008, 03:58 PM
Jose, Yes, That is what I have always told my kids, and others... That say "I have NO talent for painting" or "No Way, I can't paint". I always say, how do you KNOW? Have you tried? Practiced? I think of it as playing a violin...Most people can't play, because they never picked one up. BUT, and yes there is ALWAYS a but :)... There are those that are truly gifted. That don't have to practice as much, that it _does come easy for. Those are the ones that are gifted or talented. It seems though, in painting, it is more of a learned skill. I have never heard of a painter that picked up paint and brushes one day and painted like rembrandt on their first try... Yet you do hear of such things in the other arts??

Pat Isaac
01-14-2008, 04:18 PM
I say it is a little bit of both, but you have to have the passion and desire to do art. I agree with Deborah as I tought art in the public schools for 30 years and the students who achieved were the ones that worked. Artistic ability does come easier to some people, but if they don't work at it, it goes by the wayside. Some people have a great ability for promoting their art and therefore get recognized more easily.
My classic example are 2 students that I had in high school. One was so talented he could have written his ticket to any school, but was exceptionally lazy and ultimately drifted away doing nothing with his ability, the other was not nearly as talented. In fact, when I had her as a freshman, I thought, won't make it through the year. However, this student was so driven and so wanting to succeed at this that she made amazing strides and now has her own graphic design business.


01-14-2008, 05:26 PM
Great question! First, society teaches us to believe that art, any artform, is a god-given talent *only*. Remember the Forman movie "Amadeus", about Mozart and Salieri? That is what we are led to believe.

In reality, as the others have stated, practice and hard work is needed to succeed. From our standpoint, music is a 'neutral' ground, so I'll use Mozart and Beethoven as an example. Mozart had an exceptional talent, he could "see" the structure of music in his head, he himself said, either when composing (when he built the structure, or it just popped up in his conscious mind), or when listening to other people's work. So when he got around to writing it down, all the work was done and the notation was just drudgery. Still, he had to learn. His father was a talented musician and composer, so he was immersed in the right environment from the start. Then he travelled Europe to meet the great masters of his time, and learn from them, and they taught him. Travel was financed by displaying the little boy as a marvel.

Beethoven was taught well, but he worked more outside his head. He worked at his piano, trying things out, composing on paper, ripping paper off the block and crumpling it tossed it away, started anew. It seems like he had to work much harder at creating.

Wich of these is greater? Impossible to say. It is a comparison of apples and pears, or rather, of elegance and passion.

I think painting is way easier to take up later in life. You don't have to fine-hone muscle coordination and neurons like a musician. The craft of painting is fairly easy to learn -- simply lots of stuff to understand, memorize, and to remember to check for. And trial-n-error, practice, practice, work it out. I've seen people become very competent painters in as short time as 2 years.

So, the *craft* part is sort of no-nonsense work.

I agree, there is such a thing as a God-given talent. And I think He is very generous with it, gives it to many. Not all have such circumstances in life that they can put the talent to use, and some just won't do it out of laziness.

I'm sticking out my neck a bit too: Some of us may be Called to paint, to put whatever amount of talent we have to use, in service of greater good. (We may not know it as such, though.) I think that calling shows itself as Passion. It won't go away, not even after 30 years of total neglect. That passion has a way of popping up, of gripping us, and it comes to those most receptive to it, not neccessarily to the most talented. Exceptional masters emerge, I belive, when great talent and great passion exist within the same person. But very often God calls those who believe they are not suited for the job, like Moses, and they go all "poor little me", but do wonders when they actually do the tasks. The artist's job may be simple, not exactly earth-shattering, like showing the beauty of the creation. When we follow our Passion, our Calling, it feels Right.

OK, I happen to be a believer, but all that I said can be expressed in modern psychological terms too. The religious language suits me better, that's all.

Pat Isaac
01-14-2008, 05:40 PM
There you go , Charlie. You said it, passion.....I like your musicians analogy.


01-14-2008, 05:58 PM
Wow Charlie.. That was so gooood and I totally agree!

Deborah Secor
01-14-2008, 06:34 PM
Amen, Charlie! :D


01-14-2008, 08:20 PM
I completely agree with all of the above, which was written so elequently by Deborah, Charlie, Pat and others - God, Allah, or whomever you personnally believe as the devine power, grants some of us a supernatural ability to be able to utilize the right side of our brain in an above average manner. But, just having this 'gift' is not enough if it is not utilized to it's maximum ability. The harder we work, utilizing our 'gift', the more proficient we become in our trade! The more we paint, the more experimental we become, the more we study, explore, innovate, practice, the more rewarding will be the outcome!

God didn't want me to be another Frank Sinatra or Elvis, so he didn't give me a great voice or shaky hips but he did bestow upon me the ability to create pictures that the world seems to enjoy! And believe me, I'm very greatful and try to utilize my 'gift' for the common good of mankind!


01-15-2008, 12:32 AM
I agree with all the posts but would like to add perseverance and determination to the list. Some people are defeated by the slightest setbacks while others thrive despite tremendous difficulties.

Whether or not you become a "great" artist will be decided by others, but you have to decide first to use your talents to the fullest.


01-15-2008, 04:47 PM
Hi again,

Well, I'll just add that for insteance, when I walk above water, it's not a matter of working hard or practicing. That is shear talent:smug:

Kind regards,


Deborah Secor
01-15-2008, 05:04 PM
No, Jose', that would be a sheer MIRACLE! :lol:

Talent is
1. A marked innate ability, as for artistic accomplishment.
2. a. Natural endowment or ability of a superior quality. b. A person or group of people having such ability.
3. A variable unit of weight and money used in ancient Greece, Rome, and the Middle East.
The original Greek word, talanton, came to indicate the amount of weight one man could carry (100-200 pounds), so the concept comes out of the idea that the talent you have is what you can bear or balance. Personally, if someone hands me 100 pounds of anything I'm putting a LOT of it down! Gotta share, right? So let's all share our talents! We are, after all, a talented group, don't you think?

(Sorry, I love chasing down the roots of words--it adds so much to the discussion.)


nana b
01-15-2008, 07:01 PM
I agree with most on this question. What Charlie said really stands out to me. It's easier to take it up later in life! Anyway that's exactly why I'm starting out now. I'm settled down now and the conditions are right for me to go with it. I tried it back in 1981 and after the exitement was over, so was I. But, I always intended to come back to it and here I am. I think about it 24/7, even dream about it so I can't let go this time. I think you probably need a little natural talent but the biggest part of it is work, work, work! Study everything you have at your disposal, practice and if it takes talking to yourself a lot then so be it! When I am doing my best, it's when I'm telling myself what to do and how to do it. I answer back, yep, that's it, make it turn, make it lift up and etc. I am not kidding, that's when I'm in the zone, the right side of my brain so to speak. I don't even care if someone hears me and thinks I'm crazy. I guess I am...crazy about making art:smug:


01-15-2008, 07:10 PM
I thought it was fishing and baking 'rhubarb' pies! :D :D :D

nana b
01-15-2008, 08:54 PM


01-16-2008, 11:14 AM
Thanks Deborah and Charlie for sharing your thoughts. How you expressed your opinion actually helps me find direction, perspective and the will of God for my life regarding my 'art'.
I often struggle to find balance.


01-16-2008, 11:34 AM
finding balance is a subject for another thread--i have a very difficult time doing that. when i get going on art, i let the rest of everything slip, or i get on top of the other aspects and my art fades off. sure wish there was a way to 'fix' that part of it all! if you find a way to really balance it all, i'd love to hear that!

Pat Isaac
01-16-2008, 11:44 AM
So would I.....


Deborah Secor
01-16-2008, 12:55 PM
finding balance is a subject for another thread--i have a very difficult time doing that. when i get going on art, i let the rest of everything slip, or i get on top of the other aspects and my art fades off. sure wish there was a way to 'fix' that part of it all! if you find a way to really balance it all, i'd love to hear that!
I don't think this is another thread topic, since our original poster, Anne, has expressed an ongoing interest as an extension of the thoughts and questions she shared.

I often struggle to find balance.

For me, the balance has come not in struggling to map out my time daily between artwork and the other responsibilities I have, but in changing my attitude. I can look back and see that there are seasons in which I needed to devote more time to one or the other, as I'm sure all of you have, too. For instance, little kids demand more time, which is taken away from artwork, but that isn't an expense I resented. My time with my kid was far more precious than any artwork I'll ever do. That's my priority.

The attitude I've developed is that I don't need to shoehorn in a little artwork and a little housework (or whatever else I'm responsible for) into every single day of my life in order to stay balanced, but that I need to respond to the need of the day, no matter what it is, in order to stay on balance overall. For me, that's a reliance on God's priorities, though many of you may see things differently--that's okay, this is my way of filtering needs. I think we have to take a longer view, whatever we consider our priorities to be, looking for the overall balance. I believe that means steadily considering today as the time I can work (yesterday being spent and tomorrow not in my grasp), and looking for the ways I can effectively live what I believe.

Do I get overwhelmed and realize I made some wrong choices? You betcha. My house is dirty, my deadline is looming, people are coming for dinner and I haven't shopped, because I took too much time painting... Does that mean I need to beat myself up, feel guilty and become less productive? (No-brainer.) It does mean I have to let yesterday go, after deriving the lessons I can from it, and submit myself to the needs of today, moving ahead as effectively as I can. Simple--but not easy! I used to get all tied up in guilt and become further bogged down in ineffectiveness, falling behind and feeling that if I painted I was doing something wrong, but as I did the other work I would (selfishly) feel resentful, get angry and do a poor job. Do you see that trap? Can't paint--too much fun I don't deserve. Can't work--too tied in knots with resentment and bitter feelings. Not getting anywhere, feeling guilty, and doing less all the time.

Now I take time each morning to prioritize, knowing that each day will be sculpted by the needs that arise, which I filter through my priorities. Such a relief. It makes painting time fun and relaxing, takes the resentful feelings out of the other work I do, and makes my heart merry. Works for me...(when I'm on-track and doing well, that is! I have my bad days, too. :rolleyes: )

BTW, to me this balance issue ties directly into the topic of (art) talent or time... All the talent in the world doesn't mean you should devote all your time to it, nor does lack of talent mean you should shirk the time needed to improve your artwork. Balance is what's needed. Each day has enough trouble of it's own, so my attitude to what comes is very important!

Well, that's my tale and since I typed out the whole shebang I'll post it. It might not be what you all are referring to, or it may be off-topic, I don't know, but it's my story and I'm sticking to it! :wave:


01-16-2008, 01:59 PM

If you are a professional artist, this IS your JOB! No commuting time, no fancy cloths to wear, no stupid goals to meet, just doing what you love to do! You can paint 14 hours per day, seven days a week or take a lovely afternoon off to smell the roses! It's one of the best jobs in the world, bar none!!!!!!!!

And if you only paint as a hobby, then just enjoy the free time that you devote to your leisure! A round of golf would take +/- 6 hours, so you can at least sneek a few hours out to play in the dust! Don't feel guilty, enjoy, it's better than taking a bunch of drugs to 'relax'! Besides, if you dust today, it's only going to come back tomorrow - let it go and dust it tomorrow!


01-16-2008, 02:22 PM
Very well said, once again Deborah. Through the years,,, the years I left my brushes on the shelf, were years my children, & family were needing me the most. Now, they are off and going. I would rather feel guilt about not painting, than about not 'being' there' for my kids. Yes, priorities. Some people are better balancers than others...When I paint, play video games, sew, or what ever.. I am tottally obsorbed. I am not one of those that can paint & listen to what the kids did at school today. I suppose what, in part, brought up the question in the first place, was me wondering if I _had spent my time differently, would I now be a better painter.. I most definately think the answer is yes, however, probably not a whole better if I were more talented, . I think we as artists prefer to think we are talented instead of skilled. Skilled refers to such things as a secretaries, or perhaps almost any vocation one spends many years perfecting. Some "get it down to an art", these select few, are a step above the rest in their field.. The title Artist, conotates more than skill.. this is where talent enters in. It is that extra keen eye, a steadier hand, or a more unique way of expressing oneself, that earns the title of artist. A Craftsman is skilled, Artists are talented.. or at least that is what most people believe.. I however am not absolutely sure that is a fact.. thus the question..
boy am I ever cornfused...rambling... not sure this post is making any sense, but I will go ahead & post it and see...

OH.. & I thought all this time I was over-weight... seems according to Deborah, I have just been carrying more talent than most.. cool :))

Deborah Secor
01-16-2008, 02:52 PM
Oops Maw-t, I blew it--YOU'RE our original poster, not Anne! :lol:

Y'know, I think the idea of separating some mysterious weight of talent from accrued skill is probably useless, though I've certainly chewed that piece of fat before. In fact, I've discussed ad nauseum the difference between a craftsman and an artist with my husband (the former woodworker: ergo craftsman--or is that artist?) and we finally decided that he would call himself a craftsman when discussing the how of his trade and an artist when discussing the why of it. One coin, two sides, both important, and since they're inseparable the percentage of one or the other is moot.

If any of us had spent our time differently we would be...different. That's all! :D


01-16-2008, 02:54 PM
Love this discussion.

I always tell me my creativity was dormant and then at a certain point I realized my other life wasn't fulfilling enough. Someone on high tapped me on the shoulder and introduced me to this possibility of art. (That and a wonderful company that helped me realize in my career searching that perhaps I didn't have to be married to a particular profession). They recommended exercises using art...

I also found that being older gave me "permission" to not be perfect and have fun and play no matter what others thought. It removed the "perfectionism" issue that I think so many possess and can't shake. I'm referring to the comment "I can only draw stick figures". Poo I say!

Taking classes, being willing to learn, and having patience also factors.

Will I ever be "great"? I guess I find that using a pop culture phrase... "Success is the Quality of the Journey".

Enough pontificating - I have to go clean up my box and head outside for some "work"... "fun"... "color".... "Joy!"


David Patterson
01-16-2008, 02:55 PM
God didn't want me to be another Frank Sinatra or Elvis, so he didn't give me a great voice or shaky hips but he did bestow upon me the ability to create pictures that the world seems to enjoy! And believe me, I'm very greatful and try to utilize my 'gift' for the common good of mankind!


So blue person...all of us here in WC would love to see what the "world" seems to enjoy! Where's the beef?:D We've been good! :cool:

I agree what Deborah and Charlie said above...well thought out verbiage, and very close to how I feel about being blessed with a God given talent...which was seldom used from 1976 through 2005!


Pat Isaac
01-16-2008, 04:10 PM
I agree, Deborah with the no guilt feeling. Of course, retirement has meant a lot more painting for me and the acquisition of my own studio and somedays others things take precedent, but it seems to all work out in the end. I also agree with Barb that age helps a lot with your thinking and how you arrange your priorities.
Hmmm...dust.....I think it has turned orange....I'll leave it, nice color.


01-16-2008, 05:53 PM
For me art is what brings balance into my life. Ever since I can remember, I have been drawing. I do not think it started as a natural ability, but more a natural desire. That desire gave me practice, which developed into skills, or to the onlooker..."talent".

I was constantly drawing and doodling in school, mainly because I had so much bottled up energy, this was the only way I could vent it and remain seated to listen to what the teacher had to say. Even if I wanted the carry on a conversation with a friend, I found it very hard to sit around and talk to them without having a pencil in motion. By the time I was in high-school, I was considered "the artist" of the school. This is not saying a lot. To put this into perspective, I came from a small, rural school where neither art nor music were taught. Without exposure, most of my classmates did not develop an interest in art. I might have been the best artist in my school, but compared to people who were getting into art schools, I lacked the knowledge of the fundamentals of art. My senior year, one of my teachers took me aside and pointed that out to me, advising me to choose a different career path.

After seeing merit in what he had to say, I chose a career path in the sciences and struggled my whole way through. I pushed art out of my life so I could concentrate on my career choice, but to no avail. I was miserable. The entire time that I did not include art in my life, I was truly not a whole person. To make a long story shorter, once I finally embraced art again, I became both happier and healthier. Returning to art, my life was once again in balance.

So the original question was what? Boy I've gone off on a tangent. O.K. is it practice or talent that makes a painter great? Well I have to agree with the others here that it is both with a lot of desire and drive factored in.


01-16-2008, 10:08 PM

Some are on the net!!!!!!!!

Gotta go, there's orange dust in my studio - maybe I'll get to it tomorrow!

By the way Pat, what kind of OP's do you use to get 'orange' dust? :lol:


David Patterson
01-16-2008, 10:55 PM

Some are on the net!!!!!!!!

And where might that be blue...inquiring minds want to know!


01-16-2008, 11:16 PM
This conversation has been very interesting and probably been discussed way back in Rembrandts' time or even before that, and I find that the "coin" analogy is the best (posted by Deborah)! I do think, for my 2 CENTS worth, that it's what you DO with IT! :smug:

01-17-2008, 06:12 AM
Hi again,

Wow, what a fabulous thread!

Deborah, love your entymology of "talent". If given a talent, one should most definitely not bury it.

On the other hand, just because one *can* do something farily well doesn't mean one *has* to do it. (Or is it *have*?) Multitalanted people need to focus, for example.

You mothers: Bringing up children is a higher Calling, it has first priority. But when they are big enough, then there may be plenty of time to follow the artist's calling. Personally, I believe we have many callings, and need is what sets priorities. Being more mature when taking up a craf or an art makes it easier to plan, extrapolate, see consequences. It is also easier to learn many new things, as there is a base of experience to fit it into, one doesn't have to learn everything from scratch.

Right Brain topic: Read a book by an artist who explained that it is the Left Brain that is the "enemy within", as it is logical and *simplifies* shapes and objects into symbols. Take a spruce fir, for example. If someone asks you to draw one quickly, you'll draw something rather similar to what you did when you were 5 years old. As that is the stored simplified symbol for it. As artists, we ought to train our Right brain to disregard the helpfulness of the Left, and draw/paint shapes as they are. Author also says that drawing a christmas tree doesn't mean you're not talented, it simply means the Left brain took over.

Developing: I'd like to add that it is usually so that we take leaps in development of our abilities when we push ourselves, go beyond the border of what we think we can (safely) do.

Priorities/guilt: There is a thing in Western culture (very dominant in Sweden, less so in the US), that if you *enjoy* doing something, you sort of "ought" to feel "guilty" about it, some even call it "selfish", and therefore it may be also called a "sin". (If I love my employment job, do I sin? :-)

The way I try to balance household work and other duties, is to for example dust and wipe one room (that is my *intention*...) , so basically I go over the whole house in a week, but I don't get exhausted by doing it all at one go!

Personally, I can "survive" about 3 days after completing a "serious" painting (not sketches), before I *need* to paint another. Those three days I do a lot of chores and socialise, work my homebased business too. And plan the next painting.

Well, my two cents for today :-)

nana b
01-17-2008, 08:44 AM

Some are on the net!!!!!!!!


blue, what name are they under? I want to take a look:heart:


01-18-2008, 12:55 AM
I thought I would jump in and give my two cents and it is this simply put...."if there is a will...there is a way!" If you believe in yourself and have faith, what you desire will be yours! You have a choice!

01-18-2008, 01:38 AM
Yoohoo Pat... I :heart:love:heart: your saying.....

"Hmmm...dust.....I think it has turned orange....I'll leave it, nice color"

BOY, Does that ever fit me!! Fits me to a "T"... thanks for the smile :))

01-18-2008, 01:13 PM
Time or Talent?
This is something that will never be answered, but is important for every artist to give some thought to.
I grew up with a mother who was an artist. Our family contains many artistic people in music, writing, art. There may be something to the genes.
But, there was also the encouragement factor of giving the follow your bliss, you can do it message that maybe was more important.
In a family like this (we do not have any high-powered famous artists:lol:)
you get the message that you can do it. But, you also get the message shown in the lives of family members that it takes work and study and practice.
I do know that in both my piano and violin playing and in my painting there are times when I "walk through a wall" to another space and seem to be tapping something beyond. Call it God, the Great Creator, or my own inner creative spirit, whatever, I am not alone, I "sing".
I do know that if I am overly concerned with "will I be able to do it" or "will I be good enough" or " if I am talented", I become less able to tap into this source.
Since I do not seem to be a Mozart, a Rembrandt etc, I know that what I am able to do is much better for the study, the learning of skills, techniques, reading, being mentored by other artists, by WC and its resources.
Julia Camron puts it this way in her books on The Artist's Way:
"Show up and do the work."
"I will provide the quanity, God will provide the quality."
Recently, I was in San Diego, CA with my husband. He was attending
a math conference (he's a math prof.) and I was painting, sight seeing, visiting a cousin. It was sort of a gray, partly cloudy day. I was on the balcony of our hotel room painting the scene out towards Point Loma.
I was "putting in time" seeing what I could make of the day, trying to put light where there was not light.
Suddenly the clouds coming in from the ocean started changing forms and
slowly creating wonderful patterns. I grabbed a new sheet of paper and worked, hardly thinking. I was using all my learned stills, but in a way that I did not have time to decide about them. I was not directly copying the scene, but inspired by it. I ended with an amazing sketch.
Now, I'm saying, can I take this sketch, two weeks later, in snowy Wisconsin, and transform it into a painting or not? We'll see.
But, I'll show up and do the work.
By that, I'll use everything I have learned about my art.
I'll provide the quanity (including effort and learning),
God will provide the quality!
That's the leap of faith I take each time I play my violin, my piano, or pick up my pastels or brushes.
Another of Julia Camron's lovely sayings is:
"Leap and the net will be there!"
Ok, enough of this.....to the studio! Show up and do the work!:heart:

01-18-2008, 01:29 PM
Elise, I greatly enjoyed your post! You are also a talented writer.

01-19-2008, 12:25 PM
Yes, Elise, very talented writer indeed...I just now saw your post. Loved reading it!!

01-19-2008, 05:15 PM
well, it doesn't seem to be either with me.... I am not improving with time... and not a bunch of talent to begin with- sigh

01-19-2008, 06:01 PM
Great reply, Linda!

You've said exactly how I feel in January and about 99% of the time the rest of the year.


01-19-2008, 08:21 PM
I would like to weigh in with something I read in "Composition of Outdoor Painting" by Edgar Payne.

He says lots of great things and the book is not an easy read, however, when I first started painting I read the following and it helped me to realize I might be able to make my mark, so to speak.

"While talent and genius sometimes weigh measures, apparently beyond reason, nevertheless there is some logic, studied purposeful effort and self-discipline in the study and practice of art". Then he quotes George Eliott: "Nothing will give permanent success in any enterprise in life, except native ability cultivated by honest and persevering effort. Genius is often but the capacity for receiving and improving by discipline."

There is hope for everyone!

01-19-2008, 08:47 PM
Interesting discussion. I think that without talent to begin with, it will be difficult to achieve results despite the amount of practice you might be able to do.

I grew up in an artistic family. My mother did a lot of clothing design sketches as a young woman, my father won an art award in school, my sister got her degree in fashion design. I picked up a paintbrush and my family said "ew, you need to go into something else".

It wasn't until as an adult I took up pastels and discovered that I did actually have some artistic ability. I put it down to genetics as even my first few paintings were pretty good (IMHO). However, that's not to say that I won't get better with practice and experience, as I know I will/am.

And, funnily enough, I still have difficulty with a paintbrush ;)

01-19-2008, 09:00 PM
I think, for a lot of us, we've succeeded *because* we love art. That is, we spend the time practicing, we do the research and learn new techniques, and we strive to get better due to the love of what we do.

I was at an art workshop once and it was pointed out that a lot of people draw the same as they did in, say, 7th grade. Why? Because that was when most people were old enough to take a good look at whatever they drew and say, "Gee, that's ugly! I can't draw!" Before then, I'm sure we were all proud of our childish drawings and ran to show our parents! :lol:

So, most people stopped drawing at that age, and therefore never improved.

While I'm certain that there is a certain talent for art/creativity that gives some people a better chance at succeeding at art than others, a lot of it is also the tenacity to put in the time to learn the craft of art.

-- Linda

01-21-2008, 11:33 PM
I think that practice and enthusiasm can create talent. There may be some innate ability to detect spatial relationships, but as far as creating "good" art, that comes after creating a ton of "bad" art. :) I started out when I was five years old, tracing Richie Rich comics. That taught me the basics and then I was off! Unfortunately I gave it up during University, when I bought into society's opinion that art wasn't worthwhile because it didn't get you a high paying job. On the up side, now my job allows me to buy art supplies to feed my art!

01-24-2008, 12:38 AM
What a great discussion! Each poster has had something so fitting to contribute. I personally think that passion is the important ingredient. Without it who will give the needed time for disciplined development of their skills and artistic sight. When I was a youngster my picture was in papers all across the nation as the probable next piano prodigy. I was predicted to have a career as a concert musian. As a young adult I took up guitar. I wanted to play clasical and flamenco like Segovia and others. BUT I didn't want to give the 8 to 10 hours a day of committed disciplined practice. And I never moved beyond the craft of music to the art of music. That is I never was able to play with true expressiveness. I suppose I am more musically talented than I am with art, (however, I can't tune the guitar without an electronic aid and havn't really played in years) BUT with art I am not only willing but driven to do it daily for long hours. I'm never not doing something with art, even when I'm sleeping. I'm absolutely passionate about art and doing art. The progress I've made in the two years I've been back in the art world comes from that passion and the time I put in. Yeah. almost everyone in my family is expressive and have gifted skills in one form of art or another, so I'm sure I inherited some talent, but mostly it's the passion and the willingness to persevere and to study and to just do it.

02-03-2008, 03:02 PM
It's 5% inspiration and 95% perspiration!

02-03-2008, 07:10 PM
It's 5% inspiration and 95% perspiration!

Concise, to the point, I agree. :)


Clare in Texas
02-26-2008, 01:07 AM
Dear All,
Generally I don't reply much. But here goes.
Doing art pleases your soul. I will not suggest it is God-given or not, but it is just there. Doing it scratches something inside. It doesn't really matter if you get outside approval, though it is nice, but not really necessary. In a way, you are doing just for yourself, nobody else.


02-26-2008, 02:04 AM
Clair :wave: .. I like that... "it scratches something inside" Yes! Perfect words.

And I have just been thinking what a blessing it has been. To me, that is part of the God given part, especially lately.. such good therapy, and yes I have been doing it for me, to help get the mind on more pleasant things other than lifes stresses.. ahhh it certainly helps to unwind...grab up some sticks....let the world drift away.

02-26-2008, 11:42 AM
My academic background is in psychology and I did alot of intelligence testing as part of my training. Although an IQ number is not so meaningful some components of it like visual memory, mental rotation, and spatial planning are things that differ between people (sometimes a great deal) and I firmly believe that great abilities in these things can separate the prodigies from the rest of us.

For example, if one person has to draw a grid to make a likeness (me) and another person can just look and judge spatial relationships and remember accurately where to put them on paper, the person who can just look, judge, recall and reproduce seems likely to have an easier time-to be more of a natural or more of a talent.

Fine dexterity is also something important but having been a child with a bit of a tremor and atrocious handwriting who endured a summer of handwriting tutorials at age 13 and now has very nice handwriting when I pay attention, I do think there's alot practice can do to modify native skills.

My former step daughter's mother was very artistic and I'm reasonably artistic but at age 7 she had enthusiasm for art but could not draw anything remotely like what she was seeing. When I taught her how to use a grid she was amazed at how she could reproduce a likeness. I really think many many people don't get the instruction in simple things like blending, or values or color temperatures that could make them artists.

Finally one of my big annoyances in life is that my parents were terrified I'd grow up to be a deadbeat. They were insistant that I have a proper career that could earn a good living and being a "starving artist" was something that they never would have supported. I didn't even take art at my private school because they wanted me to take things I'd make all As in! I understand wanting your kids to be self-sufficient. That is a parents goal but the thing that chaffs me is that they believed success as an artist was impossible. I don't even think it was a commentary on me personally. I think they thought most artists lived in their parents basement or in shabby Parisian tenements and waited tables or worse to get by.

The upside (if there is one) is that I can now afford high quality supplies and can pursue art because it brings me pleasure but the years when I could have been doing art are lost and the years I'd need to get up to speed are being devoted halfheartedly to my job. Of course if I had been forced into something like illustration as a career I'd be burned out on art. But I do always wonder whether I could have had a wonderful career if I'd been encouraged and if it would have been an easier life to pursue something about which I was passionate.

So for those of you out there who are parents, please please please support your kids.

02-26-2008, 12:26 PM
Time or Talent.
Practice or Talent.

Talent is the embodiment of a natural gift within yourself. Sometimes it takes practice to make that talent shine through. With enough practice anyone can be a skilled artist, however, all the training in the world can not replace the natural talent that drives the creativity that makes your art unique.

Van Gogh as an example. Some of his sketches looks like stuff that anyone can do, but there is a certain uniqueness about his work. Something new and groundbreaking. A part of himself. It takes a natural talent to leave that mark in your artwork.

Otherwise it is just trained reproduction.

And with time some of Van Gogh's work improved in different areas. Practice is a key factor to any art. an Art is something you strive to master.

Just my two cents.

02-26-2008, 03:46 PM
I believe maturit--visually and intellectually has so much to do with this. You are born with an innate interest which develops continually. Because of this interest, you have a tendency to keep working at it and are driven by personal challenges and goals. Personally, because I have been teaching students art for over 30 years, I have greatly improved my own ability to see what I have been talking about for years. I continually improve my eye-hand coordination, sense of color and value, composition, etc. with each problem I help students solve. At this rate, by the time I am 90 I should be pretty darn good!!

02-26-2008, 04:33 PM
i will say both. I think you have to have the passion, drive, and talent within you for it and the time helps you develop it more.
I know an art professor who told me when he first went to art college he thought he had great talent. His professor told him she could teach a monkey to draw, so he was most devastated that he had no talent. He later decided she was wrong about it. I believe if you don't have the passion, drive, and talent then an artist you won't be. I also believe you need the time to hone your skills.
If I wasn't discouraged by an high school art teacher I would have went to art college. Now all these years later I am doing what I love but unfortunately not as a career.

We have an elephant at the zoo who does paintings. The sell for a lot of cash.