Monday, December 20, 2010


Again and again I come back to the difference between skill and creativity.  Let me repeat:  Skills are what enable you to execute your creative ideas well in your medium or choice of field.  Once a skill becomes innate you use it like you use your hands-you don't have to stop and think "OK, now, move that finger to the t on the keyboard, and that one to the o-great I just typed "to"! But I had to spend hours practicing keyboard lessons to become good at typing!  And then hours to become faster so I could type almost as fast as I could read or think.  You have to pay your dues!

I think most of us want instant gratification.  When taking a class, students want to walk away with a masterpiece.  I try instead to help them find the joy in the medium and build on skills to bring them along to a painting they not only think is pretty good, but one that was enjoyable to produce.  The most asked question is: what can I do to get better?  My #1 answer is always- "take a drawing class".  Why?  Because if you cant draw a scene or object accurately, how can you paint it?  Drawing is foundational to good art.  Do I need it if I don't do representational art?  Maybe not, but you will need other foundational skills.  Your time is never wasted on basics!

From a recent art newsletter I get I read a quote I'd like to share:
"That power to project a concept or idea in your work comes down to not letting skill become a barrier between what you want to say and how you are able to say it. I think that is why so many artists focus on foundational skills such as drawing mastery. The pendulum swings both ways—innovative ideas inform skill; skill allows you to execute your vision." 

That's what I'm talkin' about!  Said so much better- I'll bet her writing skill set is better! 

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