Art Is A Skill That Is Never Fully Mastered

With our age of electronic instant streaming, two-day workshops, Skype and online tutorials, and minute-length YouTube videos I often hear the expectation that creating a work of art should be faster than making instant mashed potatoes and require only a funny hat, a paint brush, some form of color stuff, and background music to accomplish it.

No so, folks. Art is a skill that is learned for longer than I want to say. It is full of majestic successes and even many more painful lessons.

So today's Blog rattles my ego and twinges my vulnerability in that it shows one of my own painful lessons drawing my black lab Emma. My goal was not to render a stylized look, but rather to try and capture something unque about her. I wanted to create her shiny slick black coat (which I had not tried before) efficiently in colored pencil. I was also strapped for time and attention. So I had already laid the groundwork for a disasterous first attempt.

On the left is the familiar first sketch (on several earlier blogs) and the right is "Emma" which had already been obliverated several times and recomposed resulting in a image that is a cross between a deer and an anteater sucking a lemon, but looking nothing like my dog, Emma.

Leonardo DaVinci started pieces and put them aside for decades before completing them. He make prolific drawings, sketches, practice pieces before he committed to the final rendering we are so familiar with. So I have learned to be patient with myself and recognizing when I need to commit to spending some preparation time.

Hopefully the next time you might be tempted to say, "I can't do art," which could also mean "I can't wait or focus that long", or if you forget that mistakes (and there will be many -- not all "happy mistakes") are the stepping stones of learning, you will remember this blog post and the work of famous Da Vinci to realize you are in good artistic company and You Can Do Art.

My belief, now convinced by my study of prehistoric cave artists, is that humans are hard-wired to communicate visually and learning to do so is an "ART".

Original Sketch
Original Attempt
Tonight or tomorrow I will post my next steps. Stay tuned...