Category: Artists

Artistic Genius — Myths and Legends

Myth #1: Artists are born, not made.

(not true, I say!)

Since when does this apply to anything? Does a carpenter just ‘know’ how to measure, use tools, and build houses?

Myth #2: The Great Artists went to extremes.

Da Vinci painted 16 hours a day and sweated great drops of blood to be the very best of his generation.


It does take a lot of practice to be able to draw what you see, but you don’t have to give up your entire life to be great. Just keep going. Draw every day at every opportunity. Make a mess. Break stuff. (you realize I’m talking to myself, too?)

Someone has said that when you start drawing, your taste is a  lot higher than your ability. That’s true. You just have to stick with it long enough for your ability to catch up a bit.

Ok, another myth…

Myth #3: Your paintings must spring fully-formed from your brain to the canvas.

…or you’re not a ‘real’ artist. Wrong, baby!

I and many others struggle with the burning desire to create something amazing artistically, but these myths will hold you back. Don’t believe them!

For years I thought I wasn’t a ‘real’ artist because I sometimes need to look at things to do a great drawing of them. Seriously? And how many of us could sketch a portrait without anything to look at? Will it even look like the person when you’re done? (no)

‘Real’ artists (even Italian Renaissance artists) used tools and techniques to produce amazing art. Things like…

Camera Obscura

Have you watched the movie Tim’s Vermeer?

The New York Times review by Mahnola Dargis makes Tim out to be a scoffer — one who doesn’t understand that there’s a whole lot more to art than putting paint on a canvas.  (YES! There is a lot more to art than the mechanics of it) There’s another whole aspect to this, though…

Using tools to create art is GOOD! OK!, and even AWESOME!

Every artist at some point has tried to tell herself that if you used ‘X’, you’re not a real artist. Bunkums! and Bologna!

To me, Tim’s Vermeer tells me quite plainly that if I wanted to use a tool to create art, DO IT! Whether it’s a camera obscura, a lightbox, or a drafting board — they are just tools.

Yes, New York Times — there is a lot more to art than the tools you use. Subject, composition, framing, unity, style…. a lot more.

I spoke with a friend the other week who produced a beautiful piece on her wall. She took a photograph of her husband, cropped it, printed it in black and white and selectively colored sections of it with colored pencils.

She was concerned that this wasn’t ‘real art’. She had disqualified herself!

This isn’t right! She decided everything every step of the way. The composition, style, materials, colors — all of it.

If you’re an artist, let this be your encouragement for the day…don’t hold yourself back. If you love to create beautiful things (or even strange and wonderful things), just do it. Make a mess. Don’t hold back.

Pursue your passion.