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What is Talent?

by Lori Woodward Simons on 8/4/2009 1:19:31 PM

This Post is by Lori Woodward Simons, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.

Lately, I've been coming across online videos and blogs that deal with the question, What is talent? Does it exist, and if it does, what exactly is it? Are some people blessed with a huge dose of it, and therefore destined to become a prodigy? Mozart usually comes to mind.

Last week I watched an online video where Malcolm Gladwell (author of "Blink") was being interviewed before an audience. A large part of the discussion surrounded the topic of talent. While Malcolm concedes that raw talent does exist in some individuals, it certainly brings no guarantee of greatness. He comes to the conclusion that in order to get masterful at anything, one must spend 10,000 hours doing that thing. He says the talent factor is really just a dose of love -- the passion that makes someone put in the hours to get there.

As many of you know, I paint with Richard Schmid on a regular basis. Richard is annoyed by the idea that some people are born with that something extra. He acknowledges that a solid art education in the fundamentals and years of hard work have made him appear to be talented. Richard advises in his book, Alla Prima, to just assume that you've got talent and move on to learning and doing.

I disagree with Richard on one point. Yes, I'm not afraid to take a small stand with the Maestro. In conversation, Richard has expressed that doesn't believe there is a genetic component to becoming a great artist. I do believe that there is often a natural spark of interest in visual things. My visual memories go all the way back to the crib. I can remember being fascinated by dust particles floating in the sunlight, the way window blinds cast diagonal patterns of light and shadow on the wall... maybe all children wonder about these things; I can't say for sure.

My father, his father and their brothers were all commercial artists.You're probably thinking that I was surrounded by art growing up and that influenced me. But here's the catch: I never knew my father, his father or their brothers. My mother had no interest in art at all - and yet, I started drawing as soon as I could hold a crayon in my hand. By the way, I never liked to stay in the lines on coloring book pages...

My mother had only two original oil paintings in her possession. They were square, 4"x4" landscapes - little Hudson River Style oil landscapes. Now here's where I think nurture comes into play - because even today, I'm attracted to that style of landscape painting, but let me get back to my story... at the age of, oh about 3, I thought I could greatly enhance those little paintings by adding my own artistic statement to them with crayon. I could never understand why kids got in trouble for coloring on the wall. That never appealed to me - I went right for the canvas!

Well, seriously, I do think that talent exists in the form of being genetically inclined to see objects and the world in a certain way. How many artist biographies have you seen that begin with the line, I started drawing at a young age? But! In case you imagine that I think artists are more important than other human beings, let me state that it is my belief that all people have at least one natural ability to do something that can contribute to others - whether it be math ability, musical inclination or ability to wait tables with a smile. Artistic ability has never made me feel more important than those who have other abilities.

I'll finish with one final thought: Talent seems worthless without passion and persistence. While I don't think it takes 10,000 hours to get to the professional level as an artist, I do think it takes several years of hard and smart work. Getting the best education seems to expedite the process - whether through classes or workshops, videos, or books. I believe that a strong base of knowledge in the fundamentals of value, color, and composition will shine a light on the path to excellence.

So what do you think Talent is? How essential is it to success? What if someone doesn't have a great deal of talent - is that person doomed to mediocrity? How many artists do you know that didn't start out with any apparent ability but went on to achieve greatness?

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Topics: Best | Inspiration | Lori Woodward Simons 

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Claudia L Brookes
I teach watercolor classes, and am struck by how often the people who are not naturally "gifted" produce stronger work in a year than the people who come into class clearly able to draw and with some experience in the medium. I feel that I can help anyone improve their drawing skills, particularly through practice in contour drawing. I also feel that I can help anyone learn reasonable mastery of the medium, but it does require slowing down, listening, and then retaining some of what I am teaching. For this reason, it is far more rewarding as a teacher to work with a rank, but eager, beginner than someone who rushes ahead of their current ability with unpracticed skills. I value the natural "handwriting" that each person brings to their work, and certainly do not want my student's work to look like mine. But time and again, I see talented individuals who repeat the same patterns that get them into trouble, and are unhappy with the results.

Debbie Turner Chavers
Talent. Interesting thoughts, I think talent is a God given gift that requires practice and the ability to realize that artistic perfection exist in the eyes of the beholder not necessarily the person creating the art:)

jimmy springett
Hi Lori,
Great story idea with much to think about, what is talent and do some artist have more than others? I can't say much about how much time it takes to get really good, but I have about 11,500 hours since 1991. I can say I love to paint and I must have learned much along the way. You speak about children's memories and inclinations, we visited the Toledo Museum of Art when I was 5 years old and I remember every painting, and when it was time to go I was the last to want to leave. That memory stayed with me for 40 years, dormant, yet in 1991 I started to sketch and paint starting this great journey as an artist.

No, I don't think anyone has more of a gift than another, in my opinion we are influenced by others and our environment as we develop our skills, some experiment, while others stay close to the book, who is right? Painting is an inner expression coming out in an outer form, so each artist has a unique insight, a unique way of expressing their gifts, none quite the same, thank God. Developing a base of informed customers is another task, separate from making the art, yet very important for sustained business, hence writing on this website and all the blogging each week, sharing our gifts collectively helps to open up that possibility. Good communication rewards good art.

Keep believing in yourself, share of yourself, risk and dare to walk your path and as you continue to grow your art will shift and move with you never quite the same as a few years ago, ever beautiful, yet, none of us are the same either from year to year.

I paint because I love, and I share that love with all who will behold too. Have a great day!!

Jim Springett-artist

Pat Jeffers
I think the best definition I've heard of "talent" is that it is the desire to practice. We are all born with inclinations toward this or that. Some are better in math, some better in art or music, some better in athletics. But what makes the difference in whether or not that inclination becomes something more in your life is the desire to practice it. Without that level of commitment you may have a pasttime or a hobby, but you don't reach a professional level.

Diana Bekkerman
I believe that results in drawing and painting come from work and an open mind and heart. Inborn talent makes it easier, but "lack" of talent should not stop anyone. It's a matter of will - are you willing to do the work? Are you willing to grow in developing your hand-eye coordination, your creativity, your skill? If yes, go ahead, and results will show in proportion to the work that you put in, and to your commitment to your growth.
When I started working with my mentor, I often felt very frustrated, because I wasn't sure if I'm talented enough. That slowed down my progress a lot, and only after I decided to let go of all negative judgments about my abilities, and just go forward learning new skills and growing as an artist, results showed up.

Roger L Huffenberger
I just read your article on talent.I believe that the DESIRE to do something Art,sports music,etc is the driving force behind your ability to success in your chosen field.Even with TALENT if you have NO DESIRE to push you forward you will still be in the same spot tomorrow.I have people say I WISH I could paint and and draw like you do.My response to them is if you had the DESIRE that I have to paint you could do it.

Cory Huff
My wife claims that anyone can learn to sing, and while I have learned a lot from her, it is definitely more difficult for me than it is for some. Talent is real, but definitely not all.

Of the people I studied acting with in college, several flamed out because of drugs, a couple quit part way in, and the ones that are doing really well now are the ones who worked really really hard in school.

Talent is real, but not by any means a determining factor.

Lori Woodward Simons
Seems like most of us agree that even if someone doesn't have much talent or natural ability, it doesn't limit the heights one can achieve with hard work.

I still think education is an important factor. Training helps. Even if an artist paints non-representational work, there's still design issues to be considered.

One of the best ways I've learned how to paint inexpensively is by copying the works of "long dead" artists. Sometimes I copy a little portion of a living artist's painting, but it goes nowhere - stays in my studio as a learning reference.

Michael Warth
Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. - Calvin Coolidge

I love this quote, and I believe talents are learned through practice and study. A talent is nothing more than an expressed aptitude for a given skill that may be above the norm. Desire gets one started on the path to having a talent. Therefore, some of us are born with a desire to do art, some desire sports, etc. Our desire takes us to the level of talent. All skills can be learned in my opinion.

Basically, the word "talent" may be misused and anyone can learn if they have the desire.

Michael Warth

Julie Gerleman
"Talent" seems to be nothing more than some inborn predilection towards some certain skill. I'm not saying it does not matter, it does. But by itself it does not predict success or failure; that seems to depend on the individual's ability to blend that talent with other factors such as discipline or a desire to develop the skills inherent within that talent. Perhaps talent can make the whole process easier. Skills are more easily, quickly and fully developed, and the individual feels impelled to drive their development forward. In the end, I think most of the great artists have talent in spades, but those other qualities too.

Joanne Benson
Hi Lori,

You bring up an interesting thought to ponder. I used to think that some people had talent for art and others didn't. This is probably because I loved to draw from a very young age and doing so came easily to me. However, having taken a number of classes with all skill levels, I believe that if someone is motivated enough and keeps working and practicing that they too can master the art form of their choice. It may take a little longer but if the will is there then it can be done. I have seen people who I would have said were never going to learn to paint do beautiful watercolors after a few years of consistant classes and practice and I have seen others with similar abilities just "throw in the towel". So I am now a believer that, although some people posses a natural ability/desire to do artwork, it can be taught to most people who have that burning desire to learn! It may take a little longer but in time it will all come together.

Alyson B. Stanfield
I highly recommend the book "Talent Is Overrated," which I finished right before reading Gladwell's "Outliers" (which you allude to above). It's denser than Outliers, but makes some good observations that are missing in Gladwell's book (which goes in a different direction).

Jeanne Guerin-Daley
Lori, I agree with your final thought, that "talent seems worthless without passion and persistence." I believe you have to have all three to be successful. I think it's a shame when I see someone that has an obvious talent for something, but doesn't have the desire to work it, or the interest in pursuing it. But, no one can force that person to be passionate about it. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink...

Passionate desire and persistence are high up there on the scale of what one must have. A little natural talent to boot helps, but the passion, I believe, is paramount.

Felicity Grace
I think it's obvious that some people are born with talent (how many of us could draw like Stephen Wiltshire even after 10,000 hours?

I'm not brilliant with words but talent has nothing to do with success and as always when the question is asked people seem to assume that artist talent is only validated by an exchange of money. You don't need recognition for your talent to exist and money is a man made invention, nothing to do with your DNA!

I don't have a singing voice but maybe after 10,000 hours I could sound OK, but 10,000 hours maths tuition is just 10,000 hours wasted on me. If there was no such thing as talent we'd all be like sausages in a sausage factory, spewing out of schools becoming accountants and English teachers.

We need only look to the 'stars' and 'celebrities' on our TV screens to know that becoming successful has absolutely no link with talent. (A talent for self promotion perhaps.)

My father did absolutely everything in his power to steer me away from art but I thought of nothing else. Putting me in a school without even an art teacher only left me unable to do anything useful when I left. I'd dearly love to have a talent for maths because that, today, is much more useful for getting a job that pays for the mortgage. Just because I don't crave success doesn't mean my ability or drive to express myself artistically is 'worthless', to use a word from one of your commentators.

Felicity Grace
I should correct that and swap the words 'absolutely no link' for 'often no link'.

Lori Woodward Simons
Thank you Felicity for sharing your experience and thoughts. You're right, we don't have the same amount of passion either.

Being an artist doesn't make us any more special than non-artists. I'm sorry to hear that your dad tired to eliminate your passion for art - seems like he failed at that, and I'm glad that you're here sharing with readers.


Lori Woodward Simons
Oh, last night I remembered something about talent and ability...

In the late 90's I taught drawing lessons in my home. My husband, a software guy, who couldn't draw anything when playing Pictionary - all animals from his pencil looked like cockroaches - decided to join me in an experiment.

I taught my husband and another geeky, non artist how to draw. My husband prodcued some beautiful work, and when he put a piece in a local art show I was doing, his was the first to sell.

Alas, he explained that even though he "could" draw, it held no fascination for him. He had zero passion for the activity, and even a sale wasn't enough to carry him on with it.

I believe anyone can learn to draw and paint well given the time and education, but not everybody like it. My husband does no artwork today (he collects it though)

Claudia L Brookes
Like the idea that "success" and "talent" probably have little correlation.

Lori Woodward Simons
yeah, folks... I'm procrastinating on packing for Maine.

I wrote a series of articles for Watercolor Magazine where I showed professional artists' early attempts at painting. Some of them showed absolutely no ability for the first year, but then after 2 years of work, something amazing happened - they got really, really good.

Dan Stouffer comes to mind. He is an amazing watercolorist. His first 2 years of paintings (which we showed in the article) were amateur. Which does to show that perseverance and constant painting can take you all the way to the professional level.

OK... I'll go pack now... ;-)
Please don't let my comment be the last. I'm excited about hearing so many of your ideas.

Claudia L Brookes
Here's a thought in the business sense: If we think of talent as real, but as a "raw material," then to make something of it, that raw material would need "value added." I think these value-added things are most likely "skill" (the "hows") and "application" (the "how much"/"practice, practice, practice" aspect). I think the "how much" also takes into account motivation/drive. I believe there is a very high correlation with very good art if all three of these aspects are present in high degree. However, the correlation between success and talent is probably very close to zero; luck will have more to do with it. I am currently reading "The Black Swan," which has probably influenced my thinking here.

Clint Watson
Back when I owned my art gallery, a man came in and wanted my opinion of his art. You see, his heart's desire was to be a professional artist.

Unfortunately, his work was, frankly, terrible. I thought to myself that he should not give up his day job. But, believing in hard work and "luck", I encouraged him to keep at it as long as he truly loved it....and to periodically show me how he was doing (he did not quit his day job at that time).

Over the years, he worked hard, studied with some of the greats, painted every day and just kept at it. I was impressed each time that he came in that his work, while still bad, WAS little-by-little improving.

I still remember the day, years after our first meeting, that he brought in the first painting that made me think "this is pretty good."

Fast forward to today, and you'll find the artist in this story working as a successful, full-time, professional artist.

Yes, "talent is overrated", David Leffel told me that very thing years before Gladwell's book came out (although Gladwell's book is worth a read). Richard Schmid says the same thing. Note to artists: If Leffel and Schmid say something regarding'd be advised to take heed.

Thanks to everyone who commented on this article.

Nancy Medina
When I was in College, in our first week of Color Theory class, an 18-year-old student produced works so amazing and with such ease the instructor (himself an accomplished artist) was shaken. After about the fourth day, I saw the instructor have an aside with the young student and advise him to move on to the next course level. I have wondered, since then, if that young student missed any of the essentials of Color Theory by being advanced out of our ranks so quickly.
Regardless, I agree with most of the responses here, my work did not begin to grow until I had spent about two years painting virtually every day in every available free hour. I still have a long way to go, but I can look at my portfolio now and see clearly when the hard work began to pay off compared with years of hobbyist dabbling beforehand.
I think talent can be equal to the measure of your desire and passion for something. If you really want something, you will attain it.
Nancy Medina, Flower Mound Studio

Clint Watson
Just an updated, this subject stuck in my brain so much this morning that I reworked my previous comment up into a blog post on it's own at:

Claudia L Brookes
Nancy-If I understood you correctly then I do not agree with your statement that "talent is equal to the measure of your desire and passion for something." I think that talent is quite separate from desire and passion. People have an innate talent for something, or they don't--and it comes in various degrees, as well as, more obviously, various types. If your talent and your desire and passion are both off the scale (implying that you are also learning what you need to know as well as pursuing it passionately, as passion can be a waste of time--or worse--if you keep practicing the wrong things), then you may be very, very good or even great at what you do. This has nothing to do with "success," nor did you imply that it did in your post--"success" is just a "red herring" in this discussion, and not what it is about.

Lori Woodward Simons

I had an instructor in Albuquerque that moved artists out of the basic level so that the newbies wouldn't be discouraged or compare themselves at the start to someone who is more advanced.

Diana Bekkerman
In response to Claudia Brookes comment, I believe that "success" applies to this discussion, but the definition of "success" here is mastering the skills of drawing and painting and being able to express yourself freely.
Being a successful artist in terms of worldly success is another story, for the formula of worldly success for an artist seems to have two ingredients - the quality of work, and marketing.

Chauncey Homer
Yes, there is such thing as talent and it does make a difference in the long run. I like Claudia's "raw material" concept. Talent is worthless without hard work. I do believe that some folks have that "something extra" because I know many disciplined artists- some that went to the best ateliers and some that have had a strong work ethic for over 20 years- but they have only reached a certain skill level. They are professionals but there work is lacking when compared to Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Velasquez, Sargent, Bastien-lepage, Waterhouse, etc. I don't want to mention any modern day artist's names but look at the best artists today and ask, "Are their classmates that had the same art education as good as they are"? The answer is "no". If it were "yes", we'd have a million Mozarts. The greatest art is made by someone with talent (an innate sensitivity to life), passionate hard work (again- an innner driving force), and vision that is very personal and unique. One can study for 100 years and not acquire those things. I do take the advice of not worrying so much about how much talent I have. I don't depend on talent- I've learned enough to know that any further improvements in my work will come from study and hard work.

Claudia L Brookes
Chauncey--There might be a fallacy here--I submit that "the best artists of today" (ergo, we would have to know about them, so enters "success") are only the tiniest imaginable drop in the pool of really, really excellent artists out there. Marketing and luck have to enter into the mix.

Those "best artists" surely have classmates who are producing dynamite, virtually unknown art except to the small circle of their collectors (there's a good chance the unknowns don't even have gallery representation, as there are way too few galleries in proportion to the amount of good work available to be shown in them). Some of those classmates, of course, decided it was better to be a stockbroker, some haven't painted in 20 years, and some died of a drug overdose or heart attack. But to assume that the best artists in that class cohort became the recognizable "best artists of today" doesn't hold up for me.

Here's just an example: I have over 500 artists on my database, all are at least acquaintances and many are friends. Fewer than 15 percent of those have gallery representation; only about a dozen have a national reputation, and I know those people mainly through taking workshops. Even Tim Bell, who is a fantastic artist I am starting to collect, does not have a national reputation yet. However, I could show you the work of at least 200 of those 500 artists and you would probably agree that it is top-notch.

Lisa Mozzini-McDill
I agree with most the comments posted. Desire is a huge factor in the success of any endeavor. I once knew a brilliant man with many natural gifts for intellect. Unfortunately, he did not produce much and ended his possibilities with suicide. Persistence, desire, character is also needed besides talent. The question is can someone with less talent reach the heights of those with the luck or gift of much talent? The movie "Amadeaus" comes to mind. I do not want to be mediocre nor jealous like Salieri. It would be nice to know if we are "wasting our time" and money pursuing the dream of excellence. However, no one can know without trying and even then maybe never because art can be so subjective. Satisfaction must come from the making of art.

Joanne Benson
In response to Claudia's last comment I say bravo! There are indeed many excellent but unrecognized artists. Being a world class artist is more than a matter of producing excellent work. It is a combination of the work along with marketing, connections, luck, perserverence, etc. Even if you are excellent, work really hard, have alot of drive, still need a little bit of luck, you need to know the right competitions to enter, be in with the right "circles" etc...It is that way with most things in life. And then it all boils down to "what is art?" not "what is talent?". Many abstract artists are well known and are well paid for their work. Many hyper realist artists also are well known, etc... and then there is the continuum of everything in between...(and I'm just referring to painters here). In my mind there are two types of success as an artist. There is that inner satisfaction with your individual journey/progress and your work and then there is the more public form of success which would be the "celebrity artist" status, if you will. Of course, many of us would love that "celebrity status" and I admire many well known artists for they have achieved great things. However, for me, loving my own work and expressing my vision while striving to improve my work is enough to keep me motivated. Part of being successful is believing in yourself and your vision. Art is so subjective....what is good art to one person my be passed over by the next. I often wish that there weren't art competitions.....the prize winners are those whose work appealed to that particular judge or judges....but there are many works as good or better that go unrecognized....I know I'm getting off topic here but it is a pet peeve of mine. I think a good topic for future discussion would be why competitions??? I suppose we need a measure of "public" success....but could the selection process be can you say your vision is better than my vision???? Could it be done in such a way that there is technical merit along with other figure skating...with scores for each area....say technical merit for the medium being used, compositional elements, subject matter and usage, uniqueness, etc.....then give each artwork a score....perhaps there would be many high scores instead of just a few....oh well this discussion is for another day....sorry for going off on a tangent....

Roger L Huffenberger
YOU have a very fine point of view here i myself often wonder how you can judge some ones expression and art is self expression right.
Another question what is art. Have Great Day

Jimmy springett

I'm pretty new to our FASO group, so I might not have your depth or experience with art competitions, whether formal programs with specific outcomes or the day to day competitive sale's challenges. I am learning that communication speaks volumes in my daily blogs, and this bit of weekly work stretches my imagination, not so much in direct selling my work but sharing my process. In a way I am selling me, and my process not so much a specific work. This year, I have been challenging myself to enter art competitions, lots of them. My most recent entry is the Wisconsin and Federal Duck Stamp Competitions, both very tough, very sought after, competitive contests. Rather than judge my work I put my best design and color down in this unique format and I was a couple weeks ahead of schedule. I liked the process and being my first year submitting I don't get the cart in front of the horse. There is always room for firsts even in contests, last year for example the winning artist for the Federal Duck Stamp, was a first time entree and the youngest since the program began in 1934, why not be a first time entree and the oldest, then both ends are covered? Just kidding, the experience to me is a personal growth scenario, it's not so much a competition against the other artist as it is within myself. The last time a watercolorist won was in 1982, that's 27 years ago, but I am a watercolorist, did I shift to painting acrylics because they are winning, no, but I did develop a new watercolor technique and process, using unique materials. That in itself is very rewarding, so Joanne keep up your winning attitude and very good things will happen. Have a great day.

Jim Springett-artist

Joanne Benson
Jimmy, Good luck with your duck stamp entry! I'm not gutsy enough to go for the big times yet. I have only done a few local competitions or at least haven't gone beyond the state level for entering things....I have had a few things accepted locally and a few "declines" as well. So you win a few and you lose a few. The important thing is to keep on painting!

Keith Bond
I feel that I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge God's hand in my artistic pursuits. I do believe that He blesses each of us with different talents. Being equal in the sight of
God is different than being the same. We are equal, but He blesses some with more talent in art, some in math, some in sports, some in relationships, etc.

It is then up to me to do something with the talent. I must nurture and develop it. I must work hard to help it grow. All along the way he continues to bless me as I put forth my effort. He gave me the seed, I must water it and prune it and take care of it. He then gives me sunshine to help me in my efforts.

For those of you who have read the Bible, or at least heard some of the stories, Jesus gives a parable about talents (yes, it was a monetary currency, however I think his intent was that it should be applied to these situations as well). Three servants were given different amounts of talents. Two of the servants went to work and increased their talents, while one who feared he would lose it, hid it. The master was unpleased at the slothful servant and took his talent away.

In the parable, the person with only one talent was the servant who hid it, but in our world today sometimes the person with ten talents hides them and the person with only one works extremely hard and is persistant. This latter person shows the most progress and could be likened to the example Clint used in his follow-up entry to this article "The Artist Who Could".

Would anyone argue that certain musicians or athletes have BOTH talent and discipline? Why then not in the arts. You can and must have both.

I do agree with the argument that someone with apparently little talent will surpass many of those who seem to be born with more. It's because they work at it!

Sometimes I think those who have apparent talent become complacent and think they don't need to work at it. This is just like hiding it, in my opinion. The gift will be lost to those who think this.

These are my thoughts, for what they're worth.

Keith Bond

Keith Bond
A follow up point I forgot to address. Although I acknowledge that God gave me talent, I do not consider myself superior to others. Rather I feel it is a stewardship and responsibility and that I could easily lose it if I don't use if properly. I also realize that some who my have been given smaller portions at can work harder than me and develop their talents further than I can. It is a matter of using the talents wisely, acknowledging His hand in our lives and working the hardest we can.

Keith Bond

Clint Watson

That's a great point and one that I emphasize a lot too. If God gave you a talent, then, the way I see it, you have a RESPONSIBILITY to share that with the world.

I actually addressed that in the following blog post and I relate the parable of the talents (which I don't think primarily referred to money since it was a parable and, in most parables, the "things" in the story metaphorically represent something else. I think it meant not to bury the gospel once it was shared with you, but I digress).

Anyway, my thoughts on the same subject at the following link:

Lisa Mozzini-McDill
What great points! It is very encouraging to know it does not matter how much talent (or any gifts in life) you were given. What really matters is what you do with your gifts. Thanks for really putting "talent" into the right perspective. Now it is time to do the work!

Clint Watson
Thanks Lisa, you are correct, the work is the hard part. God gives us the talent but it's up to US to do something with it.

Joanne Benson
Excellent points made here! We do indeed need to thank God for the gifts he has given us and use those talents to make a better world!

I also want to thank you for expanding the art competition to have a top 15 percent. I think that is a boost to many more artists who do excellent work! And you must have been reading my mind about other mediums besides oils. Looking at the list of winners last time there was only one watercolor and the rest were oils. Thanks for that too!

Keith Bond
Thanks for sending my to your blog post (I guess I should read them more often). You state my point exactly.

By the way, I believe the parable refers to any and all gifts given us, including (but not limited to) the gospel as well as material blessings, and what we are discussing here - talents.


Lori Woodward Simons
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Lori Woodward Simons
a second test. thank you for your patience artists.

Susan Ziots
via with facebook
This is the first time that I have commented on a post anywhere but I have to...
I believed for many years that my art work was great because I put hours and hours studying my subjects and perfecting what I was working on.

That IS A MUST, but IN 2004 I started teaching and doing workshops. That was where I changed my thinking on the subject of tallent.
In my groups of beginners, I always start with sketching before they get to start painting any realistic subject. There are always a few that have an ability to see more detail and capture form and function with less effort than some of the others. The drop out rate of these individuals is almost non existent whereas the students that overlooked alot of their subjects detailes, struggled and no-matter that I spent most of the class trying to help them see, they just couldn't and eventually gave up completely.
At first, I tried to encourage them to keep working on it but then I realised that they were sucking up all my time in the classes and that I was neglecting the ones that had tallent so when they started talking about dropping, I would suggest that they could join a different (eisier style) class and we were all happy.


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