10,000 hours of practice – Expert or not?

Can 10,000 hours of practice really make you an expert at anything?

The widely touted theory, highlighted in a 1993 psychology paper and popularized by Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, says that anyone can master a skill with 10,000 hours of practice.

Been thinking a lot about the 10000hours debate. So if you put 10000 hours into anything, then you can be approaching a high or even excellent level of expertise. If I just look at some of the basic realities, what initially seems like a simple path to follow quickly becomes difficult. Here are three examples that come to mind.

Time away from canvas equally important

I am an artist and work in oil paint. I love this concept as a way of me measuring progress. However, it throws up many interesting angles and debatable points of view. For instance, in my process I have been discovering and the overarching reality that the time I spend away from the canvas has as much efficacy as the time painting.

So first grain of doubt creeps in as I figure often the painting hours would be 25% of the time I actually spend reflecting and assessing. So after 40000 hours of work time, I am beginning to reach competency or excellence? Now that could put me off.

What is an expert?

What is an expert? Especially in the art world, the idea of an expert is full of contradictions. It may be that innovatory can become a successful attribute without being accomplished. However, we could view this innovation as an experts project?

However, another point could be that each moment actually consists of an amalgamation of all time past and future. So one brush stroke correctly applied may represent a point of genius. Shame that the other 2000 brush strokes didn’t hit the mark. So what is this excellence? How can that be measured?

Personality plays a role

Personality will definitely play a great part in the outcome of a creative effort. Putting in too much time might mean you’re not making good use of it. If that’s the case, you’re more likely to burn out.

Instead, try to focus harder for a defined period of time, then take a rest. I am saying this as much for my benefit as anyone else. I have always been able to make a lot of things but finishing them off efficiently is a skill that I am only just beginning to master.

In summary, I have decided not to keep a record and throw a party when I reach this magical number. Instead, I hold true to the necessary routines to enable my body and mind to naturally understand the relationships between hand and canvas or whatever medium I handle.

Finally, another important factor comes into play. It’s not all about me. Oh, and why not?? It is growing with the intention of providing value for others that makes the whole process of creating a sustainable activity.

Many people are echoing, through their activities that creating value for the person in front of you leads to a healthier and more successful holistic life.


How to understand resistance, our creative self without studying for a degree

Resistance – Helps you take off

When an aeroplane takes off it is pretty stunning. Well for me anyway it took me years before I even ventured out of the UK where I live. I went all the way to Australia at the tender age of 26 years. I felt like an explorer and so when the flight took off my heart was pounding.

It still amazing me how these huge objects can float in the sky. Of course, I have a limited understanding of the physics behind it, certainly not enough to build one myself. It is all about resistance, isn’t it? The machine drives forward and it is the resistance in the air around the wings that enable it to leave the heavy pull of gravity.

We may well be familiar with the aspect of resistance when endeavouring to open up pathways in our efforts to connect with others. This can depend on how much we try to push forward at speed moving outside of our comfort zone. This can be striving to build relationships with those that we may have avoided. Continue reading

Success or Happiness – Selling Art online

So what is it to be successful or even happy

A lot of the economic growth model wonderfully embraces the idea that success and happiness exist in the same place and that is not where failure and misery is.

It is a strong message that is driven into our subconscious at such an early age. Then I guess we imagine that success is being strong-minded and sticking to your plans and being hard faced emotionally.

Some of us are naturally built with these qualities and indeed can have elements of success but not necessarily happiness

Is happiness important??

When we start to see that our own fulfilment is a purpose of living rather than a self-gratifying act our perspective begins to shift.

The key to happiness is understanding what it might look like and recognising that to be true it will invariably involve other people. Indeed happiness is now being measured as an international parameter to validate nations.

It is interesting that the highest marker for people in all different situations is their relationships with other people. Albeit their close relatives or friends. Still, this is an important point and why is this so vital in how we develop our lives.

The indicators are strong for creating value for others. Surely this is a cause for building a foundation of happiness in our own lives as well. If we start to view an art practice and an art business with a practice in this way all of the barriers to continuing to begin to lose their efficacy.

Creating value for others

Back to content. As you see from this argument the process of creating or giving value to others is a crucial key to our happiness. In other words, the value we give unconditionally will naturally return to us. In my experience, this can manifest itself as a deeper understanding of my relationship with the bigger picture.

The Universe is continuing to support me when my intention is to create value for others through my efforts. In business, at some point, the exchange of money as energy will be able to take place. If this is the sole intention then I believe the place of happiness in the formula will become absent. On the other hand, without some exchange of money, the expansion needed to create more value for more people becomes difficult.

Money and Happiness

This leads to the question of money and happiness, doesn’t it? Money can give you more choice. I say can because this is purely dependant on the relationship that you have with this energy. I am still working on this relationship. We can be programmed from an early age that money is more or less important than it really is. It becomes increasingly important if we haven’t got it. At the same time having a lot of it can be equally distressing for some.

So selling Art as a business covers all of these paradoxes, doesn’t it? We have the value for ourselves, manifested in our art and the way we feel about it and consequently our own self-esteem. Then we have the deepest reality within our own reaction and relating to others. Finally the exchange of value in the sense of money energy. I keep coming back to this conversation so that I can become clear about where I am with all of these relationships. These are all part of my happiness but also tools to enable me to create value for others.

Interesting isn’t it !!!!!!

5 Quotes that get the Votes – Selling Art online

A good practice to get the grey matter investigating your heart and where it sits in relation to your work and consequently the why are you doing it the question is to look at what great artist minds have commented on themselves.

I have picked 5 quotes today and will respond to them as I see them today. Naturally, each day can have a different angle to the observation. We do this in our work as well maybe ???

Tell your own story, and you will be interesting. Louise Bourgeois


Brilliant observation and extremely pertinent for me at the moment. I really am becoming more convinced that by investigating our own life story or stories we are bound to uncover how it is that we make our work. Our stories are like the sketches or preparation that we carry out when we make a piece of work. Continue reading

Motivate and Creativity – Selling Artwork Online

Motivation and creative work

Doing your creative work, however that is manifested for you can be a struggle sometimes. I do argue that to do it anyway gradually helps to break down the lack of motivation that I feel. Then we all need some proof and reason to do what we are doing.

Intellectually I suppose the arguments particularly in the “art circle” can become very detailed and complex. I am interested in identifying a few points that help me to re-assess my position if I feel a lack of drive to get on with my work

Go all in

I am a visual artist. To be precise, I have developed a practice in painting. When I do something, I have a tendency to go all in with projects. Apart from the incredible benefits, I have received from the practical side of a painting practice, I am growing to enjoy that it is all down to me. Well so far in my journey this has been the reality.

While painting, I am continually inspired by the moments of magic that happen. A dialogue inside my head or even sometimes out in the open. Maybe random thoughts and dreams visions.

A zone that seems timeless

Then complete absorption in the process of creating. The zone is this timeless place where for me paint goes onto brush then to the canvas. I look and see, digest and apply. Backwards forwards like a dance with my self. All aches and pains seem to dissipate and the day is the way I want it to be.

On one level I would agree that this state of life cannot be forced. This life condition can be approached every day. I suggest that will be the best way to build a relationship with your art a bit every day. It really is definitely worth working towards.

I tend to forget this place when I am outside of it. Do you? Sharing work with others is a limitless source of motivation. You will develop a growing network of friends who are interested in your work. In isolation, it is very easy to develop a distorted perspective.

Use the technology

Using the technology that is now available is an incredible benefit. As your loving clients buy your work the value becomes clear. This is a great motivating force to continue the creative process.

A vision for the future as you start to accomplish and share your work is another motivation. Starting to focus on one, two and five years ahead will allow your mindset to move in a positive direction.

You will notice growing confidence deep inside as you take a small step every day in first producing your work. Secondly sharing your work and consequently constructing a flight path for expansion into the vision you have for the future

Sometimes you will feel stuck and that is a great time to plan a new project. When you make a start on this new adventure your vision and motivation will bubble to the surface again.

The busier you make yourself based on a vision for the future the more you will achieve and also the stronger and more beneficial connection you begin to make.

Seems obvious, but it is easy to let life get in the way. Life, of course, will always be a challenge in any case. Let us together develop the foundation of character that we need to transform our vision and dreams into a reality.


How to Connect and change without giving up your identity

Be Prepared to change

Once we look deeper at the way our body sustains itself throughout a lifetime we discover that we fact never the same from one moment to the next. Everything is renewing constantly. So why is it that we become fixed in our ideas about who and what we can achieve?

I am not a psychologist or a scientist but I have been alive for a while and am now beginning to understand a few things through experience rather than intellect. So is our perception and what we achieve in our life linked?

It is only in recent years that I have been able to see the correlation between what has happened at various stages in my life and how these events relate to my development as a human being.

As life goes on we get swept along by very important needs and circumstances, don’t we? Sometimes these can take over just about everything. Before we know it we can be responsible for a new life. This necessitates feeding, clothing and housing not just yourself but others. We are expected to know how to do it. At the very least know how to pretend that we know what to do.

How we react to situations

Then there is the way we react to these situations. Generally, these could be based on our understanding of how life works. My experience seemed of this is a mixed bag.

Work ethic comes to mind. I felt it was wrong to be ill and certainly that would be no excuse not to got work. Consequently, when I was supposed to be managing people my intolerance raged if people didn’t come to work. Partly because I would end up doing there work.

This meant I couldn’t really do my own work. So the illusion went on. A deep lack of wisdom came naturally to be coupled with a resentment bubbling underneath my daily work regime.

Gradually this eroded my health mainly. In hindsight, I was fortunate to keep my job as long as I did and so have developed a more healthy respect for those who continue to work in the challenging environment that I have now left.

Wisdom or the lack of it

There is a positive and negative side to all of our tendencies aren’t there. A lack of wisdom enables me to develop wisdom. A must work ethic means I am more able to take on new challenges. The list goes on.

In a sense, our possible clients are of course on a similar journey. I think self-reflection and taking not of our own inconsistencies can help us begin to think of our potential clients. An Avatar is important and can help us focus on the connecting dialogue that we are going to develop.

So if we are selling art it depends on many things who may connect with our story and hence our work. If we are sharing our expertise that could support researching a different Avatar.

Be yourself

Make a start at piecing together personalities that resonate with your particular artwork. I am sure you have a keen understanding of your particular genre and the outlook of your customers. It can be all to easy to come to simplistic solutions. Authenticity is what engenders trust. What does that mean?

We could think that to successful being somebody else could be an advantage. When I first started making videos I would be really fraught thinking how boring I am. After 100 videos I kind of started to get used to it. There are very few people who love themselves on video. Apart from looking a lot older than I feel the sound of my own voice really got to me. This is perfectly normal I was told.

So battle on be yourself and create content to share your fantastic artwork whatever it may be. Then the content sharing will be coming a natural part of your artists practice if it is not already.


How to tap Power -Towards Selling Artwork Online

The Power of How – Creativity and health

  • Another look at the beginning of my Art Practice

Have you had it when you want to do something but don’t begin because you don’t know how? Maybe the knowledge seems unattainable or the task too demanding.

Four years ago I started to paint with oils. The arrival at this point was instinctive and wasn’t something I had even thought about doing in the past particularly. My wonderful wife has always made art and my creative tending towards performance and music.

Painting became more than a hobby as I started to sell my paintings. A great way to start making art is to follow your feelings. So when walking around my local neighbourhood the idea of making art from what was on the street came to mind. Often old painting was discarded in the street. The notion of building my own materials to paint on appealed greatly.

This can be a great way to begin. What do you have in front of you? The magic of making artwork is that you theoretically can make anything. As I started to use oils research lead me to begin my own art history journey. It was Titian that made canvas famous as a substrate and from about 1500 it came into common use.

The heart takes the lead

I was drawn to painting on plywood, to begin with after buying some ready-made canvasses. Immediately the need for me to be involved with the preparation of what I paint on became important. This was not a result of an intellectual process. My heart still is taking the lead as I develop an online art practice. Interesting as it was a heart attack that began this process !!!

From doing things I learn. How do you learn best? Is it easier for you to follow a textbook or a practical approach? It is hard to know when you are a child. There seems to be a lot of pressure to fit into an education system as if it is the proper way to learn.

The difficulty in providing a broad approach in education cannot be underestimated. Surely the need for creative learning should be at the forefront of children’s education. It seems the case that creative arts are considered to be of secondary importance. Is this because its output cannot be measured?

Productivity in Creative Arts ?

Is business moving away from productivity and increasingly demanding an open creative approach? Consequently isn’t the case for educating young people so their minds are open to change and flexibility so important for the stability of the increasingly fragile economic growth model??

The art of painting is one of finding out through making marks and moving colour how to translate a relationship in front of you into a piece of meaningful work. This is my interpretation and of course is open to lots of debate. Perhaps this is the dilemma.

Re-programme entrenched habits

“I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”
― Pablo Picasso

The truth is that as I continue to follow my heart and not my head every area of my life is improving. The discipline of making paintings sharpens up my senses and helps me identify what is special and beautiful in the world around me. This in turn impacts on my deeper understanding and relationship with my own body and sensibilities. Consequently, my diet and general wellness have significantly improved.

I have been able to make decisions about my health and also noticing a re-programming of entrenched habits that erode my confidence. The journey doesn’t, of course, stop there. It is now my responsibility to share and offer to help others commence on a similar change in lifestyle through developing a sustainable creative arts practice.


How to Connect with People taking time to learn

Is it all making sense?

The thing is when you meet someone face to face your senses, all of them kick in don’t they. Maybe starting with an eyeball, connecting with people. It is amazing how much you can tell from that first glance.

Granted a lot of your ideas about the person might turn out to be incorrect but at the same time, an incredible amount of information is digested. It needs to be, doesn’t it? We are designed in such a way that all this happens for a reason. First off it is survival. After, it is about connecting. Continue reading

Connect with your Audience – Selling Artwork online

Schooner Watercolour on paper

There are many ways to connect with the people that are going to become attracted to our artwork in fact probably many more than you might think

I am going to show you how I in 5 years have gone from never having painted a picture in my life; well since I was a tiny tot. Well, about 8 or 9 perhaps; oh ok I did some weird stuff in my bedroom when I was stoned in the ’70s. I think it is called high these days. Yes, doodles with splash paint and I used black gloss paint as the background. Continue reading

Art Quotes – Art Inspiring thoughts

Watercolour on 300gsm paper

Another Inspiration session for the depleted spirit

As all creatives and most people no doubt the same have times where we lose the bite of motivation.

Perhaps work becomes so tedious that either the duvet or other distractions start to eat into the art practice. The truth is that this struggle is inherent in the whole process of life.

It is just now that I can say that the time has come where I am taking on this battle. Partly because my age dictates to me that it is now or never. So inspiration and also reflection is one way that we can develop a strong and resilient approach to these negative and perfectly natural resistances. Let us have a look at some famous quotes from Artists that can help us consider and reflect and motivate. Continue reading

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