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Thursday, May 03, 2018

Talent or Persistence?


One of my paintings received a blue ribbon in the Ruth Crown Show of the Art Society of Monmouth County. Many have admired my paintings and praised my talent, which is nice but talent is nothing without practice, patience, and persistence.

My ability to paint a picture isn’t magic. I didn’t pick up a paintbrush one day and instantly create a masterpiece. In fact, so far I haven’t created any masterpieces—only some nice decorations I like to look at on the wall.

I give credit to God who undoubtedly graced me with a love of figuring out puzzles—and not the standard jigsaw puzzle. Nope. My puzzles are more difficult than simply the kind that contain one thousand pieces. Yet, the challenge forever intrigues me and I enjoy it.

Another source of my skill comes from my upbringing. My earliest memories are those in which my mother valiantly picked up a pencil or a brush and focused intently on an idea she felt needed to be brought to the attention of others. She practiced her craft constantly. She had a sketch pad with her at all times. The easel remained standing. It was never put away. Sometimes she was happy with her finished product--and sometimes she wasn't. If she wasn't satisfied, she would repeat the process.

From her example, I learned not to be afraid of failure and not to quit.

In addition, I have also been fortunate to study in Grace Graupe-Pillard's painting workshop, which has kept me on track over the years.

I am glad my painting was appreciated by the judge of the contest. I'm happy with my blue ribbon, and with the cash prize as well. But I often sigh when my talent is praised. Talent isn't magic. To create art takes lot of time. It also takes a ton of persistence.

I found an interesting article on talent in which Scott Barry Kaufman says, “Unfortunately, many people have an overly simplistic understanding of talent. They view talent as innate, ready to spring forth given the right conditions. But this is not how talent operates...Talents aren't prepackaged at birth, but take time to develop.” You can read the entire article at:

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/jul/07/can-science-spot-talent-kaufman

I believe anyone can paint a lovely picture if they are willing to spend a lifetime at it.

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