Friday, March 26, 2010

Practice is the Magic of Talent

So often people think of talent as something they don't have, something mysterious and unobtainable, a thing you're either born with or not.  So I'm introducing my new sketching blog, Vickie's Sketchbook, with a closer look at this thing we call talent.      
The bird you see above is a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, sketched a few months ago in 2009.  I first encountered this bird ten years ago, in the year 2000.  I remember it well, not because I was bird watcher who kept a list of sightings, but because I sketched it.  
Not only was the bird new to me, but sketching birds was new to me, too.  For whatever reason my desire to sketch, paint, draw and write was resurfacing, getting stronger.  And this was one of those fun moments that brought my two loves together--nature and art.  I had yet to take my first watercolor class and bird sketching was not something I practiced.  And so you see my first crude attempt to capture this bird, sketching it from a field guide in a plain paper journal with a child's watercolor set.  
That doesn't mean you have to practice for ten years to achieve this kind of difference.  The sketch you see above was created in 2008, also before I committed myself to frequent practice.  It was not until January of 2009 that I began to realize, not only could I photograph these small birds, but I really could capture them with art.  This was a confidence-boosting insight called believing.  Then I really began to have fun.

Connecting with your desire to paint or sketch is only the beginning.  Practice is what makes talent.  And practice is a two-fold process--training your eyes to see and getting to know your medium.  Practice over time allows you to relax and use your intuition.  The piece you create then becomes both part of the world you see and part of you.  
Sound magical?  It is.  There isn't any mystery to it, though.  It happens naturally.  And all you have to do is show up with sketchbook in hand.  The initial result may not be exactly what you wanted or fall short of your hopes, but every effort counts.  No time is wasted.  Your mind is constantly learning and integrating, filing away every experience into your How-to-Sketch library.  Then one day, when you least expect it, it will come spilling out onto the page and surprise you!

My new blog, Vickie's Sketchbook, is a companion blog to Vickie Henderson Art, where I blog about what I see through my camera's lens and the inspiration for my art.    To see the images that inspired the above sketch pages, click here.

8 comments:

  1. great header - this will be fun! marge

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  2. Lovely Vickie, the header is beautiful! This template is really soothing - everybody that contributes on "Sketching in Nature" should get it and we'll all have an easily, identifiable look!

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  3. Hi I just found your blog and I really like your art and beautiful sketchbook! Best wishes Blu

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  4. Cool!! I'm looking forward to all the entries in your new blog. Love your sketchbook header!

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  5. Brings to mind, of course, the old joke - tourist walking down the streets of New York, asked a fellow how to get to Carnegie Hall. reply was "Practice, Practice, Practice." marge

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  6. I was about to indignantly tell you that talent counts a lot but no I see the error of my thinking after reading this. Although talent does count, practice counts for a lot more. I'm pleased to see the evidence of that as although I was a relatively talented teenager, I am now 50 am haven't painted at all since 18 and drawn very little. I am perplexed to find my abilities have largely withdrawn. Partly through lack of use and partly through lack of confidence. I love seeing your 'evidence' that practice makes perfect, so I'm going to keep plugging away. Your paintings are just gorgeous, full of little birdy plumpness which I love. Thank you!
    Sara

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sara,
      Thank you for your comments! I do think that art may come more naturally/easily for some, but this ease is also greatly influenced by interest. When you feel passionate about something you naturally pursue it more intently. Whenever I let a lot of time pass between painting projects, I feel like I'm starting all over again, having to re-learn skills and struggling with confidence--about the same way I feel when I've been away from my aerobics class for too long! So, I hope you will keep making time for practice, and give the artist inside of you plenty of room to exercise!

      Delete

Welcome! I am glad to hear your comments, questions and feedback! Vickie

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