Is doing what you are good at, enough?

This is kind of an epilogue to my past couple of blogs.

The Piano Player, 2005, oil and pastel on paper, 30x36

Like most people, I always loved music and thought it would be great to be a professional musician of some sort. The thing is I never had the discipline to sit down and do the necessary practice to become confident enough to perform. I really didn’t see the point of doing something like that if I couldn’t perform.

It’s kind of a catch 22 situation because the technical skills required to be good were not something you can learn over night and for me, it was such an intense endeavor, the joy of doing it was lost. I know it’s not that way with every person and yet, the majority of the worlds population are not able to pursue such dreams—so I am fortunate to have that opportunity.

On the other hand, when I attended art school I had classes in printmaking which were based on becoming technically proficient using equipment and prepping zinc plates to create images. I did the work because I was there to learn and I became quite proficient at it. The funny thing is, I was an exceptional print-maker with no fear of pushing equipment and materials to their limit—a couple of my prints were even made part of the universities permanent collection.

Horses, 2001, pen and ink on paper.

Something I knew when I entered art school was I had no fear when it came to learning new technical skills. I would jump in with both feet and see what would happen. I could weld, cast aluminum and brass and copper and could even throw a pot on the ceramics wheel—I was not afraid of equipment or getting my hands dirty.

But, I couldn’t draw! at least not well and I knew that was a fine motor skill that may eventually hold me back. It took me 2 years of intense drawing classes that were full of self doubt, heart-ache and grief before I became proficient enough to communicate my creative vision. I did not have a natural aptitude for drawing and yet I was encouraged by that single skill as being the essence of my artistic career.

What I am trying to point out, is all those things I was good at did not get me excited about art or inspire my creative vision—it was to easy.

Here I am 37 years after art school, still learning how to draw and still taking my natural skills for granted. There is one huge single difference now, and that is to give my imagination and creativity full attention. Skills are learned and evolve but our creativity and imagination excels when trusted and used.

Every person on earth has some form creativity built in to them—all you have to do is find a way to express it.