HOW DID THEY GET THAT GOOD

Practice makes perfect. Sounds good, but it needs to be perfect practice. Well what is that??

I have heard it advocated that one should ‘paint a picture a day’ and this will speed one to artisthood. Maybe this comes from Malcolm Gladwell’s observation that it takes about 10,000 hours to become a ‘Master’. Maybe it does, but standing over a canvas on the floor and drizzling paint out of a bucket for 10k hrs. will not make you Jackson Pollack, sorry. No it has to be 10k hrs. of actually doing something. Let’s stick with Pollack. There is a lot going on in a Pollack painting, and it isn’t jump out at you illustration. You have to “contribute” to a Pollack to get something out of it, whether it is the landscape, or the portrait, or the still life. And they didn’t get into the painting by just drizzling paint. Look up some of the videos of him at work, it’s work.

If you look at the larger body of some Old Master’s work, someone who’s left a lot of paintings, and sketches, and etchings, etc. you see that there are the same, or very similar, poses and figures. Here in Guido Cagnacci’s Death of Cleopatra he has used the same face and he is able to put the different emotions on it, not by chance surely.

There is no quick fix nor is quantity alone an answer. You won’t become a Master by turning out one piece of crap a day, but you will get better if you turn out one perfect hand/leg/arm/nose every drawing session. Discover, recover, uncover the basics of drawing a hand, foot, etc. and then do that, drill the basics. When it becomes your own it will not leave you.

Hugh MacLeod in a talk made 20 points about success here is what he says about mastery:

“17. In a word: MASTERY. They’ve MASTERED something. Something inte­res­ting and valua­ble. They are MASTERS of their craft. It may be an old-fashioned word that makes peo­ple uncom­for­ta­ble, but that’s only because it’s something that elu­des most people.

18. Though, having watched these mas­ters care­fully first-hand, I can honestly say MASTERY is more satisf­ying than money. If you’re up for it, yes, MASTERY MATTERS MORE THAN MONEY, MASTERY MATTERS MORE THAN SUCCESS.

19. And it’s por­ta­ble. It tra­vels with you, whe­re­ver you go. No land­lord, no boss, no reces­sion, no Wall Street analyst, no news­pa­per cri­tic can take it away. It’s something that truly belongs to you, for always.”

I like that last, “It’s something that truly belongs to you, for always.”


GUITAR PLAYER

Stephen “Stevie” Ray Vaughan (October 3, 1954 – August 27, 1990) was an American guitarist, singer-songwriter, and recording artist.

Listen to the studio version of “Little Wing” on The Sky is Crying.
One take, no overdub, and if you listen closely in the quiet parts you can hear the amps crackling and sizzleing.

Left us all too soon.


INSPIRATIONAL ARTIST – Eric Clapton

Eric Patrick Clapton was born in Ripley, Surrey, England, 30 March 1945.

Clapton received an acoustic guitar for his thirteenth birthday, but the inexpensive instrument was difficult to play and briefly lost interest. Two years later he picked it up again and started playing consistently. Clapton was influenced by the blues from an early age, and practiced long hours playing along to records.

He was studying at the Kingston College of Art, in 1961, but was dismissed at the end of the academic year. In 1962, he started performing as a duo with fellow blues enthusiast David Brock in the pubs around Surrey. When seventeen years old he joined an early British R&B group, “The Roosters”.

Over the next 50 years going on to international success as a guitarist/singer/songwriter with several different groups and as a solo artist.

In the book Discovering Robert Johnson, Clapton calls Johnson:
“…the most important blues musician who ever lived. He was true, absolutely, to his own vision, and as deep as I have gotten into the music over the last 30 years, I have never found anything more deeply soulful than Robert Johnson. His music remains the most powerful cry that I think you can find in the human voice, really. … it seemed to echo something I had always felt.”

I find Clapton an inspiration simply because of his focus on, and commitment to, the blues. Though not necessarily one to emulate, his hard drinking, drugging, and loving are a live incarnation of the blues songs he performs.