Is it Talent or Practice that Makes a Great Artist?

October 19, 2018

"Your talent is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God." - Leo Buscalgia

"Discipline is the refining fire for which talent becomes ability." - Roy L. Smith


This year I turned 50, made a move across the country, and decided to explore my artistic talent through art and photography. Having two parents as artists, I have always been asked, "Do you have any artistic abilities yourself?" My response always being, "I consider myself a graphic artist." I never gave myself an opportunity to explore my abilities other than behind the computer screen. This all changed upon turning the big 5-0!


Upon making my move to a new location, I thought to myself, what a better time to do something for me. I have always believed in expanding knowledge through new experiences in life. That is why I enjoy traveling so much. Every new experience plants a new tree of knowledge within the brain to grow. So, why not take a couple classes and explore my abilities within the art field? 


At the end of August, I went to my first art class with no supplies or idea of what may come out of this adventure. Since that date, I have painted about 15 watercolors and just completed my first acrylic. Some have been good and some not so good, but, I will have to say there is some talent there, which brings me to the subject of this blog...Is it talent or practice that makes a great artist?



I began to ponder this question last month when my photography instructor shared with the class that a particular well known wildlife photographer gets mad when people tell him he has a talent. He argues that his ability has come from many years of studying, practicing, and hard work. In his mind, talent has nothing to do with it.  I tend to disagree with that statement. Yes, I do believe hard work and practice will improve one's abilities but in order to see, feel, and express something on canvas or through photography, it is first important to have a talent. I don't believe an artist's eye can be learned. It is a gift or some will say a talent. How else can you explain that I have been able to pick up a brush and paint at 50 without any training? Yes, I believe practice will only make me better, but creativity comes from within, it can't be learned. 


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