Art quotes

"For the last 20 year period I've been working with ideas conceived as a child." -Red Grooms

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Lesson in Mastery: 10,000 hours practice

       Spring is here and the outdoor art shows begin in the northern states. We have a very good show coming up May 18-19, the East Lansing Art Show. I always remember asking an artist at the show how long he had been painting. The day was hot and near the end of the two day event so his remark was rather terse and had a bite to it. Not looking at me, he said, “acres and acres of canvas.” I thought I got the message, but year’s later after reading, Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell, the art fair comment made more sense, acres and acres, that’s a lot painting.
Summer Sunset 12x16 acrylic, mixed media 

      Gladwell gives examples of people who have mastered their chosen endeavor and are recognized for their accomplishments. The one common element they all have going to reach the top in their field is 10,000 hours of practice, think of it 10,000 hours. That is a lot of time at the piano or at an easel. Even Mozart was very good at a young age but the more he composed the better he became until he reached his 10,000 hours later in his life.

Summer Fusion 20x24 acrylic on canvas
      The Beatles, too, had to perform eight hours straight on stage for weeks at a time perfecting that special Beatles sound. We see the practice/ achievement connection as a baby starts to walk. It takes a lot of tumbles to get the skills worked out.  We marvel at the major events in our lives as we too put in those 10,000 hours to reach the goals we set for ourselves.
Coffee at the Beach 11x14 oil on linen board

      When we go to the outdoor art shows this summer, remember the artists are hot, tired and wanting to get back to their studio to put more time on the art, valued time toward 10,000 hours to mastery. Enjoy the outdoor art scene and remember to support the arts as we enjoy this beautiful summer.

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