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Not letting lack of talent get in the way of doing art

 
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The way he describes drawing and making art in general,  makes it sound like a positive addiction.  So much of art is struggling with ourselves to get to the end.

And yet, I found the video strangely inspiring.
 
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Something I have struggled with for a very long time is, ... my art. ~~Before this country was a country, William Penn traveled to Europe to find recruits for his colony in the New World. My family was artists to the King in the area of the German-Swiss border. Penn convinced us to come to Pennsylvania. We later moved to the Ohio Territories. And every generation has continued being artists, each in their own way. Being artists just runs in our family. It's what we do. My brother created major art installations in hospitals and corporate headquarters. One sister created flower arrangements used in all sorts of venues. Another sister put on major art shows at Art Centers. Another sister made clothes you wouldn't believe, and she taught art in school. We have art displayed all over our town and region.

But then there's me. I don't have an artistic bone in my body. Can't paint a painting or do a drawing to save myself. I've always wondered why our family art gene passed me by. So I have just gone about my life doing what I do. Work. I created beautiful, raised bed organic gardens. More recently I have moved 40+ historic buildings to our farm. Rebuilt, restored and arranged them as a village. Every one of them is filled with displays of historic articles, 1820 to 1900. And now several photography groups make regular trips to take pictures. I can't tell you how many awards they have won for their compositions.

So what does this all have to do with the original discussion of art? Well, what I finally discovered in many years of thinking about it, is that art comes in many, many different forms. Most often we think of art as paintings and pictures. But it is much more than that. Sometimes art comes in building villages. Sometimes in creating a better bicycle. Sometimes in planting and tending gardens and growing incredible amounts of healthy life-giving food.  While at the same time creating a space that soothes the soul and sometimes inspires Ceremony. And sometimes art is the creation of wonderful music and song.

The point being, maybe try not to let your view of art as being just one thing. Live your life pure. Be joyful. Let whatever you do in life be filled with "art". And then share it with as many folks as you are able.
 
r ranson
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Well said

Lately, I've wondered if talent isn't a natural ability to make great art, but instead, what if it was the drive to keep on making bad art until we get good at it?  
 
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“There is a vitality,
a life force,
a quickening
that is translated through you into action,
and because there is only one of you in all time,
this expression is unique.

And If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.
The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine
how good it is
nor how valuable it is
nor how it compares with other expressions.

It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly
to keep the channel open.
You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work.
You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate YOU.

Keep the channel open…
No artist is pleased…

There is no satisfaction whatever at anytime
There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction
a blessed unrest that keeps us marching
and makes “us” MORE alive than the others.”

Martha Graham
( – a letter to Agnes De Mille-)



I've gone back to this one for decades.  
 
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Well Jim, I'm in awe of your art form, you're inspiring whole groups of people with what you do, and the output sounds pretty prolific too.

And R. Ranson, what you may consider "making bad art until you're good at it", well, others may have a more positive point of view of what you do, we all have a different way we see art. I have seen a few of your attempts on the forums and love that you put it out there to encourage others, and a lot of it I'd give wall space. Art isn't a perfect science simply because we are so different in our likes and dislikes.

Keep it coming all of you, just goes to show how many different faces true art has, these forums showcase so many interesting talents, all forms of 'art'.

And Aleister, your attitude is just the best form of art :-)

My favourite art is in the garden and my seed collections, to me you can't beat art in nature, ever changing and always beautiful.
 
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Jim Fry wrote:Something I have struggled with for a very long time is, ... my art. ~~Before this country was a country, William Penn traveled to Europe to find recruits for his colony in the New World. My family was artists to the King in the area of the German-Swiss border. Penn convinced us to come to Pennsylvania. We later moved to the Ohio Territories. And every generation has continued being artists, each in their own way. Being artists just runs in our family. It's what we do. My brother created major art installations in hospitals and corporate headquarters. One sister created flower arrangements used in all sorts of venues. Another sister put on major art shows at Art Centers. Another sister made clothes you wouldn't believe, and she taught art in school. We have art displayed all over our town and region.

But then there's me. I don't have an artistic bone in my body. Can't paint a painting or do a drawing to save myself. I've always wondered why our family art gene passed me by. So I have just gone about my life doing what I do. Work. I created beautiful, raised bed organic gardens. More recently I have moved 40+ historic buildings to our farm. Rebuilt, restored and arranged them as a village. Every one of them is filled with displays of historic articles, 1820 to 1900. And now several photography groups make regular trips to take pictures. I can't tell you how many awards they have won for their compositions.

So what does this all have to do with the original discussion of art? Well, what I finally discovered in many years of thinking about it, is that art comes in many, many different forms. Most often we think of art as paintings and pictures. But it is much more than that. Sometimes art comes in building villages. Sometimes in creating a better bicycle. Sometimes in planting and tending gardens and growing incredible amounts of healthy life-giving food.  While at the same time creating a space that soothes the soul and sometimes inspires Ceremony. And sometimes art is the creation of wonderful music and song.

The point being, maybe try not to let your view of art as being just one thing. Live your life pure. Be joyful. Let whatever you do in life be filled with "art". And then share it with as many folks as you are able.



Exactly, I used to paint and doing other art stuff. Now I have my huge paint brush to paint with flowers, trees, vegetables, walls, different garden beds etc. in my garden and nature participates , or not 🙃 with my ideas of the picture and I adapt including nature's ideas.
 
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Always there's this discussion 'what is art?', or 'what is good art?' And people who think they need to have a talent (they don 't have) to make (good / better) art ...

Maybe the problem is: you visit a museum and you think 'I can not make that!', or you think 'is this really art???' In my opinion a museum does not really show 'what is good art'. Often it displays a certain style, or a choice made by someone (a curator or a collector), or works made by (dead) artists who became famous for some reason.

The reasons why someone became famous can be very variable. There was a Dutch artist, a few decades ago, who became known for living together with several women (called his 'brides'). So that had nothing to do with his art. But he was 'famous', so his work sold for a lot of money ...

I think I inherited certain genes for 'being creative' and being able to make drawings in a fairly realistic style. Does that mean I am 'talented'? I never was really happy with my style. I wanted to be able to work in a more 'impressionist' style (with loose brush strokes and bright colours, like Van Gogh). But I wasn't ...
A friend made some pastel drawings/paintings that looked like very good art to me, in an 'expressionist' style. When I told her so she thought I was crazy. She said it wasn't art at all, just some bad drawings that didn't look like anything.

Like Jim said: there are many ways to express 'art'. There is not one way that is 'good', and probably there is no 'bad art'.
 
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I also want us to question what art is.  To me creative acts (and/or thoughts) are art.  Some folks are creative in the ways they  make clothing, or food, or gardens, in the way they scythe a field, etc.  At some point this was defined as 'craft' and therefore not as worthwhile as 'art. How crazy is that?? Something that hangs on a wall with no value but eye candy is not as valuable as clothing or food!  (when one pays VERY  much money for food it is sometimes recognized as art, now)

I think everyone is artistic in their own spheres. Some people are tied to jobs that truly do not allow any creativity and then are so pooped at home they don't have time to be creative with meals or home-making: this is very hard on those folks, as creativity nourishes the soul.

I hope we can all learn to appreciate art everywhere we make it, and everywhere we see, smell,  hear or feel it, no matter what form it takes.
 
r ranson
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For me, it's more about how we feel when we make art.  The video goes into it better.  

Finisned art is often removed from the feelings of the creator.  But learning art, I have to agree with what he says. The emotional battleground he talks about is a big part of it.  Acknowledging these emotions and struggle is important to keep on making art.  

Thinking about the finished art often increase the negative emotions that get in the way of creating.   Instead,  we need some way to keep motivated while in the middle of the process, and  like the video says, it's okay to make bad art.

Sometimes having that permission,  the permission to make bad art, is what we need most.


I've met so many people who give up on the first try because they didn't make a perfect thing.  It's seems to be epidemic in the people around me.  Can't knit complex cabled socks on the first try with yarn?  Not worth trying.   Can't cook a perfect soufflé first time in the kitchen?   Must never enter a kitchen again.  

It's almost like there is something wrong with how we are taught to learn.   Like it's expected to be a protégé on the first try or it's not worth trying again.

Art is often viewed the same.  Maybe worse because we are fed the myth of natural talent.   When more and more,  I suspect what looks like talent is the willingness to put the hours in, even if not every creation lives up to our desires.   That's hard and that takes as much emotional work as anything else.

I think most art resource gloss over that struggle and we lose something when we don't share that these emotions are a normal part of the process.
 
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Jim Fry wrote:Something I have struggled with for a very long time is, ... my art. ~~Before this country was a country, William Penn traveled to Europe to find recruits for his colony in the New World. My family was artists to the King in the area of the German-Swiss border. Penn convinced us to come to Pennsylvania. We later moved to the Ohio Territories. And every generation has continued being artists, each in their own way. Being artists just runs in our family. It's what we do. My brother created major art installations in hospitals and corporate headquarters. One sister created flower arrangements used in all sorts of venues. Another sister put on major art shows at Art Centers. Another sister made clothes you wouldn't believe, and she taught art in school. We have art displayed all over our town and region.

But then there's me. I don't have an artistic bone in my body. Can't paint a painting or do a drawing to save myself. I've always wondered why our family art gene passed me by. So I have just gone about my life doing what I do. Work. I created beautiful, raised bed organic gardens. More recently I have moved 40+ historic buildings to our farm. Rebuilt, restored and arranged them as a village. Every one of them is filled with displays of historic articles, 1820 to 1900. And now several photography groups make regular trips to take pictures. I can't tell you how many awards they have won for their compositions.

So what does this all have to do with the original discussion of art? Well, what I finally discovered in many years of thinking about it, is that art comes in many, many different forms. Most often we think of art as paintings and pictures. But it is much more than that. Sometimes art comes in building villages. Sometimes in creating a better bicycle. Sometimes in planting and tending gardens and growing incredible amounts of healthy life-giving food.  While at the same time creating a space that soothes the soul and sometimes inspires Ceremony. And sometimes art is the creation of wonderful music and song.

The point being, maybe try not to let your view of art as being just one thing. Live your life pure. Be joyful. Let whatever you do in life be filled with "art". And then share it with as many folks as you are able.



Exactly, I used to paint and doing other art stuff. Now I have my huge paint brush to paint with flowers, trees, vegetables, walls, different garden beds etc. in my garden and nature participates , or not 🙃 with my ideas of the picture and I adapt including nature's ideas.
 
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I feel that the most important thing about art is "creativity". To me that means reaching inside of Self for the pure essence of of what you wish to express - however and whatever it is - and then conveying it in a medium that best carries that essence. True creativity is truly magic.

The medium (the form of the art, i.e. movement, sound, paint, writing, etc.) expresses the essence of what needs to be expressed, and which it is only matters inasmuch as it provides the a way to get that expressed essence out into the physical world.

Talent (natural aptitude or skill) just means expression in one medium comes more easily to a creator, but once one path of creativity is understood through practice an artist will become "talented" in other mediums.

Creativity in the form of art is Magic. That's a subject I'm so fascinated by that I spent a dozen years blogging regularly about it, and then compiled what I had into a book I self-published only because I needed to get it out in the world. Once I published it, I never advertised it or promoted it because generating sales wasn't why I put it out there. Also because it's not very well written (it is very informational though).

But I digress.

Magic is the essence of creativity. Magic is a combination of desire, will, and ritual. "Magic" (also "Magick") is the word I use to describe the act of creation because it really can seem like magic, right? When the purposeful creation of something that didn't exist before takes on its own life and has its own meaning independent of the creator, that's absolutely magical!  Magic = purposeful creation using desire and will and ritual (the medium).

So when I'm writing or making fabric art or other visual art and I tap the magic in me (my desire, my will, and the ritual of writing, sewing, or using paint), that's creation, that's art. It has nothing to do with what other people see.

CAVEAT: Your mileage may vary
 
Lif Strand
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Lif Strand wrote:Talent (natural aptitude or skill) just means expression in one medium comes more easily to a creator, but once one path of creativity is understood through practice an artist will become "talented" in other mediums.


My sister started out as a traditional artist, oil paints. She has played with many mediums over the years, and now is creating 3-D wall art from recycled cardboard strips.  But she also is a master gardener. This is her yard, just mulched last week. All the cement work was done by her. All the garden art was created by her. And of course, the planting layout and the plants themselves are hers. It's all art.

Dedes2024Garden-FreshlyMulched.jpg
[Thumbnail for Dedes2024Garden-FreshlyMulched.jpg]
 
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On the issue of talent, my ex is a very talented artist. I used to tease her I was as talented at drawing as she was, until the bulb in my opaque projector burned out (the extent of my talent).

My attempt as art involving my projector(s) was limited to glass etch, but with the occasional sign for a friend's store [and such]. That said, they do help when your talent is limited.

OH, and a quick, story on the glass etch of the lady smelling the rose:  

I was walking through a store when I saw the silhouette on a pillar in the ladies department. I liked it. I liked it a lot. So went to their art section, where I bought some trace paper. Then I went to their hardware section, where I bought some tape.  Next, I borrowed a step ladder from another department.

I set the ladder up, taped the trace paper over the silhouette and started tracing. Employees walked by, but none stopped. I did my best to act like I belonged there.  And that is how I got the picture home and on my front screen door [about 40 years ago].

P.S. I put the ladder away.

Etch-Bunny-(JPG).jpg
[Thumbnail for Etch-Bunny-(JPG).jpg]
Etch-Cwby-bronco.jpg
[Thumbnail for Etch-Cwby-bronco.jpg]
Etch-Victorian-girl-rose(JPG).jpg
[Thumbnail for Etch-Victorian-girl-rose(JPG).jpg]
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Danny Gregory (Sketchbook Skool) often talks about this subject in his videos ...
Danny Gregory

 
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LOL!
I have often found (when I was more mischievous) that, most of the time, if you look like you should be where you are, doing what you're doing, people will assume you are meant to be there doing that. Even when a cursory glance would indicate otherwise.

My father experimented with similar things. I helped him with his sandblasting because he didn't trust me to not experiment with his glue-chip experiments or the caustic etching solutions he used in his glass art.
I still have a framed glass picture he did based on a poster I had. Part of it is glue chipped, the rest are layers of sandblasting, with small sections cut into the film that protected the glass to make the designs. It's beautiful and I could do it, but I'm not drawn to that type of work.  

Art and craft are similar and should be used to be more indicative of the mindset behind the creation. I was told that if something is useful and pleasing to the eye, it's a craft. If it's "just" pretty, it's art. I don't think that's necessarily true, though. I haven't come up with a definition that makes any more sense than the ones we use daily. Shame, that. I think we're losing master craftsmen and artists and that's a loss we will feel as a society.

 
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Everything is art and everything is an art supply. Keeping house is an art. Cooking is an art. I could go on ad infinitum.
In my contractor days I once had a very wealthy mathematician for a client. In one of our conversations he found out about my artistic hobbies. He said "You are not an artist, you are an engineer." to which I replied, "Engineering is an art and the medium is mathematics." He was stymied by that.

Someone recently looked at some of the knives I make and said "Man you really have talent." To which I replied "What I have is technical skill developed over years of practise."
People give talent way too much credit. Talent makes learning the basics of anything a little easier, but talent is no substitute for practise.

Do what you enjoy and put everything you have got into it. Whatever it is, that's your art. I think the most limiting thing any developing artist contends with is self-doubt. Cast aside any doubts. Never say "I can't do that." Instead, try saying "what happens if I do this?."

Children are naturally creative because they have no inhibitions. They are trying to understand the world around them and their natural curiosity lets them try all sorts of things with no concern about how it will turn out except the curiosity of how it will turn out. Find that curious part of you and feed it. Make it grow and develop. Nurture it as you would your favorite garden plant.

That is feeding your soul.
 
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My thoughts don't "go that deep" in either negative or positive. I know I have limitations and would never carve out Michael Angelo's Pieta.
Everyone is good (or talented) of/at something. More often than not, is not being aware of it, and then...being pleasantly surprised by accidental "talent discovery" LOL
To me, art is what I would like in MY home, MY garden, My space, and often created by other people or nature and..... often, unaffordable

 
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