In the book Outliers , author Malcolm Gladwell outlines his preconception that no one is born with a particular talent. In this sense, all talents are developed through practice and skill comes with time. Admittedly, studies have shown that people who are considered masters have practiced 10,000 hours or more. So it’s important to find something you love to practice on a routine, consistent basis. For me, that’s visual arts. Or poetry, or creative writing. And the list is growing.
When we begin to define our own style, we have to remember that this process takes time. Each day we commit to our craft we take baby steps towards our own sense of perfection. When we’re learning, we only get better and make improvements by practicing over and over again. Practice makes perfect, and at first we have to keep in mind that we are imperfect, the outcome may be imperfect, and that’s ok. We are perfect in our imperfection. And I admit it.. I struggle with this one sometimes. I have high expectations for the art that I create, always comparing my work to that of other artists who are more experienced than me, more creative than me, and more unique than me… or so my ego whispers in my ear.
This calls to mind the importance of having something imperfect in each of my artworks to remind me that it is indeed, art; that I should strive to appreciate just one fragment of each of my artistic ventures, for its perfect imperfections. I love the idea of embracing my artistic faults and celebrating them. It allows me to feel human, and keeps me coming back for more in my quest for improvement, learning and self actualization.
It takes bravery to commit to a practice, to experience the ups and downs, to fail, to succeed. But each attempt is part of our learning curve, and it takes patience to keep sitting down to master our craft. It also takes an open heart to be willing to fall down and get back up again. I try to appreciate all of the process, the imperfections of my work, the shadow and the light – that’s what makes it so fulfilling. I find that this practice of starts and stops shows up in my life and helps me to make sense of when I make mistakes. It is the illusion of my high expectations for myself that serves to limit me and to restrict my true potential. Mistakes are simply opportunities to grow and learn, to expand and develop ourselves – so that the next time, we can operate from a sense of greater awareness and knowledge. A second take, so to speak.
I keep coming back go the drawing board, literally. And I figure, that’s what counts.