Suspend the Fear of Consequences

Daily Prompt Practice Makes Perfect? Tell us about a talent you’d love to have… but don’t.

I never had a talent for being 5’8″ and slender. I’d still like it but all the practice in the world won’t make THAT happen.

Other talents? My high school art teacher (who said I had no talent for painting) said there’s no such thing as talent, genius or inspiration. He’s wrong, of course, and contradicted himself, but he’s partly right. I draw pretty well, but  I started drawing as a little girl. At a certain point my dad told me to draw an iris. I think I was six or seven. I intuitively sat on the ground, looked at an iris and drew it. I didn’t draw it out of my head or from memory. I drew the iris in front of me.

I also copied a lot of pictures other people had done — in third grade I copied Japanese prints of  Geishas. I now know that I had access to them because 1) my third grade teacher needed a way to manage me while she taught the other kids, 2) the heads on the girls I was drawing at the time looked like Geisha heads to my teacher. Ultimately, when it comes to composition and design, I couldn’t have had better examples.


In college (during my brief stint as an art major) I liked life drawing very much. That’s where I learned to see movement. Up till then — though I didn’t know it — I had only drawn things that were inert.

I don’t believe that everyone is an artist, but, at the same time, I’m not sure I know what an “artist” is. It’s only very recently (the last five years) I’ve dared use that word to refer to myself, and that came about when I did a painting I recognized as art.

Guatay Mountain in Spring

Guatay Mountain in Spring

Three things happened here  — the concept, brushwork (and the paint!) and the use of color came together to capture more than just a trail in dappled sunlight.

Is this “talent?” Or is it something else?

I think it’s that from the beginning drawing and painting have been fun for me. That first iris I drew as a little girl made me love irises more than any other flower. And while iris are supernally beautiful, I think the real reason is that in the process of looking intently at the iris, I was suddenly secondary to the flower. That was my first experience with that kind of seeing and I liked the way it felt.

People ask me if I can teach them to draw, and then I see them get stressed. I see that they WANT to draw, but somewhere down the line they got the idea that they have to get it right. They tense up almost the same way i do when confronted by dealing with money in the shop. I almost always say, “You could probably draw if you drew all the time and suspend your concern over the consequences.”

“What do you mean?”

“Don’t worry how it comes out.”

That isn’t easy, and sooner or later we DO have to “get it right” but it’s a long road to that place and the journey should be fun, the ideal Sunday outing with detours, distractions, segments of “Wow!,” unexpected challenges and some perfect moments.

4 thoughts on “Suspend the Fear of Consequences

  1. I love your sentiment, your view on ‘artists’ and what that means, and I particularly like the top painting which I would call, “Girl In Red Departing”.

  2. “Don’t worry how it comes out.”

    That’s actually pretty good advice about more of less everything. Worrying how “it” will come out not only can take the fun out of doing it, it’s totally pointless.

    If you find the way to become tall and slender, share please!! Short and boxy was never my optimum “look.”

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