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mallory
01-08-2003, 01:39 PM
Do you have talent as a painter? Or Sculptor? Or in some other artistic medium?

The question of "talent" was raised in a debate thread on a different subject and it got me to thinking. I have had non-artists look at my work and tell me that I have talent. Of course real artists look at my work and know better. :)

But, what do people mean when they say someone has talent as an artist. If memory serves me, Robert Wade, in his Watercolor Handbook, said that of all the students he has had only two had a natural talent for art and they didn't seem to grow beyond their initial level of ability. All his other students earned where they were because of hard work.

I don't feel particularly talented when it comes to technique. Sometimes painting is easy form me, but often I find I am not painting what or how I would like to paint. It is often a struggle, and I know the struggling will show up in the work and than can just make me more anxious which shows up more in the work. etc. etc.

If I have some innate thing going for me, it is that deep down I really do love to paint. It has a lot of personal meaning for me. I feel I must paint. But that surely isn't what people call talent.

So what is it? Is it good hand-eye coordination? Are some people born understanding linier perspective? Do some people seem to have a natural ability to identify and match the hue of a given subject?

What do you mean when you say someone has talent?

mallory

Rose Queen
01-08-2003, 02:10 PM
I think talent is a sort of red herring for artists, frankly. I think it's a code word for "hard work" and that Robert Wade was correct. I do think some people have a natural 'bent' for art, but without the work, that's all it is and it's about as valuable as being double-jointed or being able to wiggle your ears.

Just do the work (and I can see you are from looking at your posts on this site!) and the "talent" will follow. Or, as Julia Cameron puts it, 'leap and the net will appear.'



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Ron van den Boogaard
01-08-2003, 04:25 PM
Everything in nature takes the road of the least resistence. We humans are no exeption. Talent is that what comes easy to you. (so I disagree with the "hard work" notion. If I had had a talent for numbers I would have been an accountant and if my talent had been real big I would have been president of the European Central Bank.
But drawing came natural to me, so I became an illustrator and later an artist. Right? Not quite. I also have a talent for creativity. I can dream up stuff, so I went on to be an art-director and later an artist.
So a talent for drawing and painting (technically) is not enough to make up an artist. Not is a talent for creativity. I actually think the latter is more important, I know people who can't draw worth a #%*&, but are great artisits.

Somewhere in TAW there ia quote that goes along the lines of : "I don't care about talent, talent is genetis, it's what you do with it." (don't remember who it is by.)

If you would not have any talent, you would hate what you were doing, It would be so darn hard. But it ain't. Sure you need to acquire some skills along the way, and that can be hard work at times, but once acquired it makes the play even easier and more satisfying. One of our fellow WCers came up with the word plork, because it is play which involves work.

With the whole art thing you encounter other factors: Fear and Risk. Great art is made because you go past boundaries. You take risks. Showing a picture for the first time is like being caught with your pants down. It is #*&@%?# scary. But you keep doing it because you must. I think that is talent at work as well. Look at all the sports-stars: they have a game they love, they work hard to get good at it, but after they have to retire, they still have to do it (Look at Mario Andretti, John McEnroe, etc.)

To me it is not much more complicated than this.

Shehaub
01-08-2003, 08:22 PM
I saw a similar discussion on another site.

Talent.. what do I think it is?
I think it is the ability to see a particular task a challenge rather than a barrier. There are lots of people that "can't draw stick figures" (Have we all heard that one too many times?) It is their artistic barrier.. it is your talent. Personally, I can't "run a block down the road without keeling over", nor can I "fight my way out of a wet paper bag".. etc. I don't think there is anyone that is "talented" that doesnt have some kind of obstacle to overcome. I don't see a struggle with something as a lack of talent. The fact that even the most talented artists often did studies tells me that practice was involved. You don't assume that a talented chef was born knowing the taste and value of every herb do you? Well, I don't.

I guess in a nutshell, I am agreeing with Rob. I think talent is what you are pulled to do. I kick myself for not believing I could have artistic talents as a kid, so I could get a lot of the mistakes out of the way, but I don't regret that I have challenges to overcome. To me that is half the glory. Unlike a lot of things in life, I can pick up some of the early works I have saved and see some huge progress in the last few years.

I also think that a lot of times talent gets associated with fame and the two are very seperate. There were and are lots of untalented people that become famous and vice versa. I do not just mean world wide fame, it can be local fame as well. I have decided that in art, there is plenty of time to concentrate on becomming famous after I am dead :D

lspinella
01-08-2003, 08:27 PM
and understanding the relationships between shape and color on a 2 d plane....

Ron van den Boogaard
01-09-2003, 05:19 AM
Originally posted by lspinella
Re: its the ability to see .... and understanding the relationships between shape and color on a 2 d plane....
This is way to confining for me. This definition of talant can as easily apply to art as it can, to desing, illustration, photography and even art-citicism.
This is an affirmation that will prevent you from going into 3D, kinetics, writing. Which proves my point that there is talent for this (drawing, painting) and a talent for creativity.

I also think that a lot of times talent gets associated with fame and the two are very seperate. There were and are lots of untalented people that become famous and vice versa. I do not just mean world wide fame, it can be local fame as well.

Very true. Talent comes from the self, fame is an ego thing. Deepak in one of his books describes ego as: "birds on a branch eating the sweet and sour fruits of life". Actually I think it is an ancient quote.
Fame requires o.a. marketing, networking. A talent for that will help too, but it has nothing to do with the artist-self. And don't get me wrong: i'd like to be a bird eating the sweet fruits. Preferably before I am dead.

Perhaps it is better to move this thread to the TAW forum, I can see the blocks already lurking.

hellerious
01-09-2003, 11:46 AM
I like that. Kind of says it all. Cool! Clearly the work of a brilliant mind.



Hellerious

iridemft78
01-09-2003, 10:47 PM
I dont think I have talent. I have skill, yes, and I have developed an eye....this is evident in things I have been good at: judging horse conformation, surface hunting for native american artifacts....art :) but then i also prefer to think of myself as an illustrator and a scientist rather than an artist (even though yes i am an artist....just in denial ;) )

Ron van den Boogaard
01-10-2003, 02:58 AM
Originally posted by iridemft78
... but then i also prefer to think of myself as an illustrator and a scientist rather than an artist (even though yes i am an artist....just in denial ;) )

As said before, I used to be an illustrator and art-director, I turned artist only two years ago. And often the thought has been: "I should have done this 20 years ago." But that's really not true, I could not have done it earlier or perhaps only a little earlier.
Julia Cameron says that all those practical art related jobs make you a shadow-artist. And it's true. But for some of us it is that we have to take that road. In my "commercial" years, I had always figured that I could not be an artist, because I was only could at solving other peoples problems ("What do you want to communicate, I'll make it visually and solve it"), so in order to be an artist I had to have my own problem which I had to solve. Quite a riduculous line of thinking, but alas....
Illustration taught me a wealth of skill, art-direction greatly developed my creativity and only very late in that career self-confidence (I used to be one of those guys that came up with 40 ideas, only to discover that the first two were the best, so only the last few years I had the guts to actually make 2 or three sketches)

So being a shadow artist is not at all bad for some of us. And I will stress that last bit of the sentence. I needed all that time living and honing the skills to actually, finally, put my talent to use for what it was meant for.

So go on and be an illustrator, just watch out when the frustration with it starts to hit, then you have to make a change. Because if you stick to your job then, then you truly become a shadow-artist and you start to live in your own shadow. And that is not a great place to be.

SpookyT
01-10-2003, 10:06 AM
I agree with a lot of what I have read here. My signature line is "Talent is a Myth." As it is typically thought of by the average joe, I believe it really is a myth. Yes there are people who seem to have an innate graps of certain elements of artistic work. But I daresay what most call talent is really craftsmanship. Dedication, practice, hard work, having the proper tools, taking the time to learn from those who have gone before... all of these more tangible aspects are the reality that makes up the myth of talent.

SpookyT

Ron van den Boogaard
01-10-2003, 10:35 AM
If talent was really a myth, then we could all be equally good at playing soccer, tennis, chess and the piano. We could all be great race-cardrivers, writers, painters, sculptors, accountants, movie-directors, actors, ........... (fill in the blanks.

But we're not. We are all fundamentally lazy, so we do what comes easiests to us. Because that is the most fun. That is what talent is. And working hard to do something with that talent is still a lot more fun, than working hard at something that does not come naturally to us. Hence I am not a guitar-player.

hellerious
01-10-2003, 10:41 AM
...we are "all fundamentally lazy". Indeed, that is a fundamentally lazy & sweeping generalization & I can well understand the point being made, but nothing about the progress of the world supports it.

iridemft78
01-10-2003, 01:08 PM
my idea of an illustrator and the main-stream one are very difference. the world of natural science illustration (should have clarified in my earliar post) is extremely artistic. lol i guess is audubon (ornithological illustrator) was a "shadow-artist" than i would rather be a "shadow-artist" than just a regular artist.
Actually artist and illustrator are just words, just a verbal filing system. As in illustrator I will render the natural world...as an artist my skills have a great deal of improvement before I will be able to do this. Until then, my work is just "shadow art". :evil: :D Sorry, just had to clarify as many people think "illustrator" only means someone in a graphic design/communication type situations doing brochures or posters....that's what I thought until I discovered natural science illustration.

Ron van den Boogaard
01-10-2003, 01:51 PM
Still, as an illustrator you will work with assigments, as an artist you work autonomously. And that's where in the end the frustration will come in.
In a thread in the art history forum, a remark was made about modern art that went along the lines. "A modern artist will shape his own audience".
As an illustrator the audience shapes you.

but we're getting off topic here, sorry.

alg
01-11-2003, 07:31 AM
"Still, as an illustrator you will work with assigments, as an artist you work autonomously."

So by that way of thinking everytime we take a commission we are not "true" artists, but shadow artists. I have to disagree with that definition of shadow artist. Being an artist (and teacher if anyone cares) allows me to create autonomously but it also allows me to attract commissions and earn more money as an artist. My goal in life is to make a comfortable living from my art. Commissioned work is just one step in the process. My commissions are done in my style, but they are still assignments to complete--I have a required subject, and must make the client happy. I don't find working on a required subject frustrating. It's kind of exciting to tackle a set subject and interpret it.

This post and thought may not be complete, but I'm on my first cup of coffee here in NC!

Ron van den Boogaard
01-11-2003, 08:13 AM
Originally posted by alg
So by that way of thinking everytime we take a commission we are not "true" artists, but shadow artists. I have to disagree with that definition of shadow artist. Being an artist (and teacher if anyone cares) allows me to create autonomously but it also allows me to attract commissions and earn more money as an artist. My goal in life is to make a comfortable living from my art. Commissioned work is just one step in the process. My commissions are done in my style, but they are still assignments to complete--I have a required subject, and must make the client happy. I don't find working on a required subject frustrating. It's kind of exciting to tackle a set subject and interpret it.

Hey, we all have to eat and taking on the occasional assignment can be a lot of fun. But full-time illustrating and only taking assignments, that's a different ball-game all together. I sure had fun doing it, but after ten years it got too much, same with art-directing. I have no regrets. Also it puts a lot of strain on your right-hand brain. At least i couldn't do my own art after work. Too drained.

These days I'd rather fix a computer for the money or do the occasional website; uses the other side of my brain and I can keep going on making my art. And purely on the practical side: who is gonna commision me anything? "oh i like one of your stripes, can you do me one?" LOL

In truth: to me a shadow artist is one that hides in the shadow of his own capabilities: I'm not good enough to make it as an artist, so I become an illustrator/art-director or wharever. TAW explains it a lot better than i can do here.

Enjoy the coffee.

Shehaub
01-11-2003, 12:43 PM
This topic has taken an interesting turn. I have never heard of the term of shadow artist until this thread. Just to test if I am understanding this right, a shadow artist would be someone that doesnt push their talent (or creativity?) to its potential?

Lets say I never become a professional artist. I stay a hobbyist. I only do subjects I know I can do well, or a technique I know I can handle, without pushing my boundaries much. I can do 100 of these things and I hand them out as gifts for Christmas. Wouldn't I be a shadow artist?

Now lets say I do become a professional artist and I do portraits. I refuse to take on assignments I am going to dread doing. When I do take on assignments, or commissions, I push every portrait to a new level for me personally. I hunt down their soul and try to get it on canvas, or something highly inspired like that. I pour my heart out into these things. Then I would not be a shadow artist, would I?

I am seeking to understand this. Did I get it?

Linking this back to the issue of talent, the hobbiest is going to be told they have talent by everyone on that Christmas list. The professional is going to get quite a few positive and negative responses to their work, regarding talent.

Maybe talent lies in the ability to follow a dream?

I am just tossing out some random thoughts this thread is bringing out. I will say this much, its got me thinking of where I want to go with this "artsy fartsy" stuff.

Ron van den Boogaard
01-11-2003, 01:35 PM
Shadow-artist is a term that comes from Julia Camerons book "The Arists Way" You have probably seen more than one reference to TAW in this forum, Now you now know where that comes from.

In short, shadow artists are the ones that look in a slightly different direction to give some twist to their creativity, thereby avoiding their true artistic goal. Artists become art-teachers, aspiring writers become "wordy" lawyers, aspiring movie-directors become editors and so on. For obvious reasons illustrators to me are a prime example.

So your assessemet is anywhere from quite close to spot on to what she means. You pretty much got it.
Maybe talent lies in the ability to follow a dream?
Very well, could be, but maybe also; talent tells you where your dream is, the ability to follow it is by removing the blocks.

It's a bit nitpcking on words. True. Follow the dream and it will mnake you very happy. Whether it's called talent or whatever is of minor importance.

hellerious
01-11-2003, 01:40 PM
...doesn't all the clarifying & defining & nit-picking & elucidating in some of these threads begin to cancel some of itself out & just become one big, tangled up, gnarled ball of redundant words?


Hellerious

belladonna
01-11-2003, 01:43 PM
Originally posted by Shehaub


You don't assume that a talented chef was born knowing the taste and value of every herb do you? Well, I don't.


A talented chef would not have to be 'taught' which herb to use. He would be able to tell instinctively by smell/taste, just as a talented artist knows just what shade of color to use where, or how far/hard to take a line. It is all about instinct.

A friend of my daughter could draw circles around me when she was only 12 and she has very little interest in fine art! Talent up the wazzoo waisted! I have to work at it. :crying:

Ron van den Boogaard
01-11-2003, 01:58 PM
Originally posted by hellerious
...doesn't all the clarifying & defining & nit-picking & elucidating in some of these threads begin to cancel some of itself out & just become one big, tangled up, gnarled ball of redundant words?
All the nitpicking, clarifying & defining helps everyone. It forces one to think about one's own talents and abilities, thereby sharpening goals, dreams and intentions. It would only become redundant words if we were here just taliking about it and not making anything , but we don't.

I do agree with the instinct part also, and some of us will have to hone their talent/instinct to acheive greater things.

RobinZ
01-14-2003, 01:05 PM
I think there's such a thing as inborn talent. My son decided to play ice hockey the spring of 8th grade. He practiced skating a few times, borrowed equipment from older guys in the neighborhood, played some open hockey and summer league, tried out for j.v. in the fall, but instead made varsity and was the Rookie of the Year for all of the high school players in our area. That was his first year.

By contrast, there were guys on his team who played since they were toddlers, went to every training camp known to man, went to every open hockey session, practiced faceoffs blindfolded for hours at home, etc., and never made it to varsity.

That was my son in baseball. He had talent for hockey. Of course, hard work improved him even more. But he started with talent.

In art, though, there's lots of areas of talent, in my opinion. For instance, people say I have talent because I can draw anything I see decently enough, but I could never come up with an original idea! My son, who paints (and incidentally badgered me into getting back into art!) SEES things in his brain and paints them. It's like music. I understand how to learn to play something, but quite another to "hear" it in your brain and compose it. And I wouldn't be surprised if someone who couldn't paint could sculpt, you know? Basically, I think it's you start with some talent and you work hard to build on that.

baquitania
01-16-2003, 10:37 PM
What if you had all the talent in the world but no passion? Oh wait no then you'd be David Hockney :eek: I'm being facetious...

Aren't we all undiscovered "art" needles in a haystack? Do you wanna be appreciated because you like what you made? Or because someone told you, yeah I can sell that for you...

Hey I like money as much as the next capitalist, but talent is over rated... It's skill sure, and the skill of others is admirable, but it shouldn't make you feel inadequate, that would be the waste... of time.

Bobby

sunny
01-21-2003, 12:53 PM
Talent is a combination of instinct and passion...
I feel like I am a completely artistic illiterate...meaning not until recently did I ever hear the word tone, value...golden mean...undercoating..etc...
I do recognize famous artists work...have studied a few...but I couldn't keep a discussion going with a group of artists about any of these things.

I do know I can mix colors until I get what I want...I can draw a straight line..and a few curves..I can use a computer, and paint programs.etc...but ask me what I did..I wouldn't be able to tell you without walking thru the steps again...but I have a passion for it..

It is the instinct, the passion, the pure love and joy of it...that keeps me wanting to learn and keep painting...keep growing, and keep making mistakes...

gillyvu
06-11-2003, 03:00 PM
I don't think I have talent. I just spent every living moment drawing, so, how could i not be sorta good. My friend has talent though, she hardly draws and when she does they're pretty darn good.

Keith Russell
06-11-2003, 05:26 PM
"Over a long enough time-span, talent is indistinguishable from hard work."
--From Art and Fear (or words to that effect)...

K

CarlyHardy
06-12-2003, 12:41 AM
On-lookers tell me that I have talent when they see me painting...I usually smile or laugh, because only I know that my real talent lies in my persistence to become an artist. Its taken me years to even begin to learn what some folks just know immediately...like seeing color in the landscape, or knowing a good composition. Those things didn't come easily to me.

Perhaps talent is like a seed. For it to grow it needs the proper conditions, timely watering and fertilize, sunshine and pruning. Without any soil or care, even a seed will dry up and become useless. Talents are like that too.

When I was a kid, I would amaze my brothers by pointing out every location that earthworms could be located for their daily fishing trips to the pond! When they dug....sure enough, there were the worms! But over the years, I've lost that talent. :D But I can still find a four-leaf clover just by walking along and not looking for them! Now that's a talent!
carly

prairie painter
06-12-2003, 12:46 AM
I was reading these posts when my eyes went buggy on me, so scuse me if I'm covering old ground here (good thing I touch type!)
I create because I want to record things, move them to my undamaged right brain. So i work at it, though drawing is something I love to do. Then there's my son's friend- she can whip out a dragon that practically leaps off the paper. That's talent.
The upshot of this is, it's like anything else; some people are born with "it", some work at having "it", and people from either group may or may not have the desire to pursue "it" ("it" being artistic talent)

mpopinz
06-12-2003, 08:31 AM
Talent is something one is born with, no? The ability to render what the eye sees with accuracy?

I have no inborn talent. I struggle, I practice, I paint for the process of painting.

I have no delusions that I will be a great artist one day, I paint because I love to paint. I practice, practice, practice & have seen much improvement.

Talent.. just paint because you love to paint. Being concerned with ones "talent" can only cause one to feel less than okay.

When people begin to have qualms about their art, the problems begin. Be happy with what you produce, remember that there is no "bad" art, just wip's.

Paint because you love it..do not measure yourself against others. There are plenty of people to do that for you.

paintergirl
06-12-2003, 10:14 AM
Talent is like an innate pre-disposition to a particular area of passion ,whether music, visual arts, crunching numbers,science, cooking . Possibly a left brain or right brain thing? But only hard work can make any budding talent bloom.
Someone with a talent for piano can learn to play like chopin, but only if they put in the time. Yet many will have signed up and didn't have that 'ear for music' and no amount of lessons would ever change that much. They 'plunk' away at the piano. Yes, they could play but not with the same passion.

If talent is not nurtured, it is nothing. It is only a starting point for potential IMHO.

O'Connor
06-12-2003, 09:34 PM
As I perceive them, there are "talents", and then there are "skills". I think precious few people are born with "a gift", that is, an innate sensitivity to something that they seem to grasp and become accomplished at nearly instinctively.
I think talent stems from an emotional awareness or receptiveness in that part of the brain that we use in such endeavors.
An example: public speaking. I chose this example because, theoretically, anyone could become a speaker, notwithstanding degrees of effectiveness. However, some people loathe speaking in front of others, even one or two people if they are more or less strangers and some kind of presentation or representation is required. Other people are not intimidated by it, or have the usual average amount of "stagefright", and work and learn to be adequate or effective at it. Still others are practically drawn to it. They're "born mayors", they love people, they love to talk to people, interact, sometimes be the center of attention.
This translates, I believe, to many things we think of when we think of "talents". I believe someone is interested and drawn to something, sometimes passionately so, and they feel that freedom to try it. They are willing to comprehend that their early efforts may not produce the results they desire, but are driven by their interest and passion to continue.
I am a self-taught guitarist. The first few, or five, or maybe ten years that I played I did not achieve a plateau that I considered art. Now, after nearly 30 years of playing because I loved it I have achieved that place where I can hear myself and readily admit I am a "talented" guitar player.
Now I'm back to first base with painting, but I love it! People look at what I do now (non-artists, family, and such) and say "you're so talented!". It's not a natural gift, or inherent "talent", it's a passion that makes us willing to scrutinize, to learn and absorb like a sponge, to be hungry to know more, that is being called "talent".

Now I'm winded!

CarlyHardy
06-15-2003, 02:02 AM
So it would seem that talent is one thing to the artist who looks inwardly and realizes where talent ends and passion and perseverance take over. And to the onlooker, talent seems evident, but perhaps is not the proper perception at all.

MikeN
06-15-2003, 02:34 AM
People attacth a sort of mysticism to the word talent. I believe it is a specialized intelligence. A talented person's mind has a predisposition to pick up on patterns in a given area. You can work hard and elevate your inteligence, however, EVERYBODY has a ceiling. You could bust your buns for 250 years and never reach the level that others obtained in 250 minutes. Thats just the way it goes. Not everybody can learn to draw well.

Some people order shapes, others words, and others theories.

Mike

bellasmiiles
06-15-2003, 03:44 AM
:cat:

I have really enjoyed reading everyones thoughts on the subject of talent....so many interesting insights and ideas...

I believe that some of us have a predisposition towards it where as others have to work harder at it. I can remember from the time I was a small child learning to draw feeling as though my pencil or pen was just another part of my body. But even with being provided with a head start I know that the skill needs to be developed...

It has only been in the last year that I have restarted my interest in art and have begun instruction with a wonderful artist/mentor. I have learned that no matter how much inclination I have that I need to keep stretching my artistic muscles to grow. I know no matter how much natural ability I have that I have to practice, practice and more practice....Too often I have to remind myself that I am still on "formula" and to stop trying to feast on steak...

I look forward to reading more of your replies..

Cheryl

JoyJoyJoy
06-15-2003, 11:00 AM
Thank you, all, for a most interesting discussion!

Tom... I like your description of "talent." For me, that sums it up, and I cannot add a thing.

I got a chuckle from one participant's comment (sorry, cannot remember your name) about how hobbyists or crafty people are often told how "talented" they are... yes, professionals often get much less verbal support. I seemed to be born with a paint brush in my hand... winning awards by age 8. I am 49 now, and have made my living as a commerical and fine artist my whole life. I get few verbal compliments, except from buyers... it is as if my family and friends just expect me to be "artsy" and don't bother giving me feedback. On the other hand, my mother is very "crafty"... always knitting and painting T-shirts with stencils and such. She gets almost daily feedback on how "very talented" she is.

Interesting... this whole concept of "talent."

It is only recently that I have stopped cringing at the sound of the word "talent." I realize that most non-artists use it as a compliment... but, that usage negates the many years of work, study, money, frustration, and thrown-out canvases that got me (us) to the visualization, development, and production skill level I am (we are) at today.

Nance

DanaT
06-20-2003, 10:21 AM
In 'The Natural Way to Draw', the author, an art teacher, states he doesn't even begin to think about how much talent an art student has during the first year of study. He says that nature is plentiful with talent the same way it is plentiful with acorns, but not acorns grow up to be trees.

That having been said, I do think there's talent and it pops up in the most unpredictable places, at least for me.

From the time I started drawing, I had an ability to capture facial expressions. The conventional wisdom was that portraits are the hardest thing to do so many beginners start with still lifes, landscapes, or animals. Even today I can work on a landscape for hours and not get it like I can with a portrait that I've started for 30 minutes.

In my painting class, students have noticed that even when the star student in the class paints a 'better' portrait than I do, I capture more of the likeness. I sincerely don't know where this comes from so I'm guessing its talent.

Yes I studied human anatomy and that plays a part in it but we mostly studied the body, not the head. For years my drawings looked like naked headless horsemen :p

So now I don't question it, I accept that portraits will be easier for me and other stuff will be harder. It doesn't keep me from doing the other stuff but I have to go back and have my portrait fix every now and then or I'd get really frustrated.

Another reason I believe there is talent. I started taking an oil class last September and the best painting I've done to date was in the 4th class. I know a lot more now and I am much more skilled in oil painting, however, both the experts and the amateurs agree that the 4th painting I did when I barely knew how to do anything is my best to date.

I'd call that 4th painting talent, not know-how.

Go figure. :rolleyes: