practise makes perfect (if that’s what you want)

This morning after I read The Muse Whisperer on Quinn McDonald’s blog I got to thinking how all creative tasks involve skills plus ideas and then about where, or how, I get my ideas.  I realised that unless I’m working on something I don’t become inspired.  I need to be ‘thinking with my hands’ (thanks Quinn), exploring the properties of a material, in order to generate unique ideas.   Sometimes they’ll come when I’m walking the beach or working in the garden, not thinking of anything much, just noticing what is around me but usually, real inspiration comes when I’m completely engaged.   Ideas come and take on a life of their own through the materials.  Occasionally I’ll set out to make something and end up with something completely different because I listen to the idea . . . or is that the muse?

The other part of completing a creative task are the skills required to actually produce it.  I could have the most ingenious, fantastical, original idea but without the skills to carry to it out the idea would be like a bell without a clapper.

I read once in a book about Tai Chi that there are three aspects to mastering anything; talent, teaching, and perseverance.  You may have a truckload of talent and the best teacher available however if you don’t persevere you won’t master what you’re trying to learn.  You can take talent or the teacher out of the equation and a level of mastery is still possible if you persevere.  This applies to learning anything.

So what ever I want to learn to do, I can . . . as long as I show up and do the work . . . daily.

As a result of turnng up today I've learned more about acrylic paints and what effects I can get from leaving plastic on it as it dried . . . I know I can use it but I want to experiment with using plastic of different thicknesses. If you look carefully you'll see I have used a large size bubble-wrap on the magenta. Play is a great way to learn. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

As a result of turning up today I’ve added to my skills and learned more about acrylic paints and what effects I can get from leaving plastic on it as it dried . . . I know I can use it but I want to experiment with using plastic of different thicknesses. Can I control the effect?  If you look carefully you’ll see I’ve used a large size bubblewrap on the magenta. Some of the bubble wrap had traces of yellow paint on it, traces of which stayed behind when I peeled it off so I stored that bit of information away as well.   Play is a great way to learn.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

 

14 thoughts on “practise makes perfect (if that’s what you want)

  1. It definitely has an interesting finish. And you definitely need to keep yourself active and occupied isn’t that what gainful unemployment is all about?

  2. I just read a fascinating study done in the state of Massachusetts. A college art teacher broke the class into two groups. One was about quantity–“make as many clay pots as you can.” To the other he said, “I only want one pot, but it has to be your best.” At the end of the semester all the pots were judged by an independent source. The group who went for quantity also won the prizes for best pots. The “perfect group” had mostly exhausted clay. There is something about iteration and problems solving that can only happen when you are making mistakes and persevering.

    • I read that same story just the other day on the BBC web site and was left wondering if it was a parable invented by Bayles and Orland in ‘Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking’ or a real study: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-34775411 It doesn’t really matter but I was tempted to get the book out of the library to check it out . . . that’s my research geek speaking.

  3. So happy for you Wendy! Wouldn’t mind if you explained the plastics experiment in more detail? I am hoping to spend today sewing on two new small quilts of my own design. I would like to find classes to take but haven’t. I do have the perseverance.

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