I'm really enjoying my iPod. I listen to a lot of podcasts while I'm working. Today, I downloaded a book to start listening to: The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle.
I came in from my studio (I am not going to call it a garage anymore, thank you) all excited to write this entry to share with you what I was listening to. I hopped on google to find some reviews before I dove in.
The book is brand new (2009) and talks about how talent is developed, literally, through the study of neuroscience... I'm not gonna bore you with the details, but it's very inspiring to me right now. It has several big concepts, but right now the idea of "deep practice" is hitting home... In a nutshell, it says that talent comes from thousands of hours of concentrated practice. Not a big surprise there. Learn by doing. But it goes further to explain something I hadn't really thought about deep down inside: practice comes from trying to fix failure. Without failure, you can't really be practicing. So practicing really must be about never really succeeding, but constantly striving to accomplish what you can't achieve yet. Trying to do what you can't do, not simply repeating what you already know. Inherently, it is not about successful accomplishment of a goal, it is about the inevitable failure we all must experience over and over again in order to move on to the next set of failures.
Talent, from Coyle's perspective (as I understand it thus far) must come from slowly working through doing things wrong over and over again until we don't think about it anymore and it's natural. Talent is, in a way, simply the ability to do things quicker, more easily, and to a higher degree than average. One doesn't think about doing "it" anymore. And the ability to concentrate on one's mistakes in bits, breaking it down slowly into workable pieces (or "chunking") is REALLY what talent is all about. It isn't the result, it's the process of learning.
So. I think I'm gonna pay more attention to what I'm painting a bit more, and purposely stretch. I see now why they say all artists must be prepared to throw away their first years of work--it should be more about growing than accomplishment. Practice does indeed make perfect, from a certain perspective. How you practice is the real question...
For those of you that are really interested, here's a little video the author made... Geesh, I feel like a pusher...
Honestly, I may hate this book when I get to the end, who knows... But it's intriguing. Take it for what it is. : )
Live life with Relish!