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Talent vs. Skill vs. Desire. vs Gift

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Talent vs. Skill

                                               

When people say, "I wish I had the talent for drawing" or something similar, I just want to pull out my hair.

Talent is something you have an innate ability for, sure. I consider this, in art, to be creativity or a natural eye for something. Not drawing skill. No one just pops out of the womb (save perhaps some artistic geniuses) with the ability to draw technically well executed artwork. Nope!

To produce one painting, it takes a lifetime of work to get to that one moment. All those sketches, practices, drawings, of your past work are the foundations upon which you build your future work. And all of this takes time, patience, and skill. It's not a talent to render an image with an exact likeness to what you were looking at... that, my friends, is technical ability... and that NEVER comes naturally, at least not to me. I spend a great deal of time squinting, tilting my head, walking around my subject (if I have a live reference), holding up a pencil to measure occasionally, and mostly staring. I can stare at an object for hours before I ever pick up a pencil.

The ability to produce artwork is the ability to see, and to translate. The talent, then, comes in, when you create something which does not exist in the world, something which you must then creatively compose based on your own head. Some people might have this natural talent for drawing skill. But me, nope. Every single detail is from a lifetime's worth of hard work and staring down my subjects.

So please, next time you look at a painting you admire, take the time to think... is this skillfully drawn? Or is it creatively done? But for my end, I just leave talent out of it - because I am actually one of the most stubbornly bad artists out there. I started with no talent, and grunted, pushed, drew my way to where I am, and where I will be. I have no talent. Just some skill and a great big desire... and a stubbornness to never give up.


                        This is very interesting to me. I used to think people who paint had this innate talent, that they were just born with it, but now after taking my class, I see that it is desire, plus a skill that is learned. Of course there are some who are just born with it I suppose, but even the great masters studied under other great masters. For them it was more of a learned trade.

I have learned how to see things differently, to draw what is there as opposed to what I think is there, and to step back and examine my work for a long time. Also to make many,many changes, all the time. And that drawing is the most important element in painting. The painting is the same as sculpting, but the drawing is the basic foundation of the piece. My eye is getting trained.

One of my friends in my art class, her name is Lisa, is an amazing artist. She has been studying with John for years and her work is beautiful. She puts on art shows and does works on commissions, etc. Lisa feels it is a skill that is learned. She is so encouraging with me, no ego at all. She is a wonderful person and for her, this is something that she has learned, and then she puts her own self into her art as well.

Once she was watching me work, and she said "You've drawn the same line four times, and you keep erasing it, but it was right - just go with it." I've learned better to put down something that is not perfect, than nothing at all.

But surely with singing it is different. Why are some born with such outstanding voices while others (like myself) would love to sing but sound like chalk screeching down a chalk-board, making all except for myself, cringe? It wouldn't matter how many singing classes I took. So these great singers, like Judy and Barbra and Pavarotti, and Charlotte Church - is it the shape of their throat and their face, nose, etc - that all comes together to produce their "sound", where as I simply produce another type of "sound"?

What about geniuses like Beethoven? His music came from within him, so is that, like the singers, simply a gift? And is a gift the same as talent?

But I do believe with all art - painting, drawing, acting, singing, writing, sculpting - and whatever else, that half the joy is putting yourself into it. The more you put into it, the more real it becomes. And the same with creativity - that is one person's expression of how he/she sees the world.

So talent, desire, skills, or a gift? I guess all art forms are considered a craft that can be worked upon and improved upon and I would think the biggest factor would be desire.

Just throwing it out there.



Reply with quote  #2 
Perhaps talent is a potential one is born with. Some people have more potential than others in certain areas. Still, that potential has to be developed by training, by learning skills. Like a rough diamond that needs to be polished (a lot) to be able to shine. If you do not allow the potential to surface, if you do not encourage it, it may disappear in the end (I am not sure about that).

Possibly art is the combination of skilled talent, passion and creativity. Talent and skill without passion and creativity produce craft. I think it takes more than desire, it takes passion. 

Maybe you will never be the next Maria Callas, Michele, but surely you could train your voice and sing "Like a virgin"? A lot of confidence, a blonde wig, some high heel dance steps, a huge marketing campaign and off you go...  conquering the world .




Starlight

Dudette / Dude
Registered: 02/01/08
Posts: 129
Reply with quote  #3 

I agree with all that you've written. I think a person is born with certain abilities, be it something with their physical body that makes them more flexible, have a good voice, coordination, for instance. Look at Dick Van Dyke or Danny Kaye - these guys had natural talent, they were born with it, never took a lesson in dance or voice. They just created their own characters and could do the moves. I think in most people, however, a talent needs to be nurtured and developed and honed. Even when I channel art with my eyes closed (I can't draw worth squat with open eyes), that ability has to be developed and honed over time and practice. And what is the engine that drives it? Passion, I think. If you have to want to use it. You could be born with amazing talents and not want to use them.



Reply with quote  #4 

Example: Pablo Picasso, born in Spain, was a child prodigy who was recognized as such by his art-teacher father, who ably led him along.

BlueMosaic

Avatar / Picture

Dudette / Dude
Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 1,847
Reply with quote  #5 

I think talent can be nurtured. I also belive talent transcends lifetimes...that is, someone's talent is developed over many reincarnations. It's one way to explain music prodigies.

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