There is a great deal of confusion in the field of art and art instruction with regards to the subjects of talent and creativity.
Until recently, like the majority of contemporary society, I too believed that to be a fine artist one had to be born with an abundance of artistic talent - you either had it or you didn't.
This is the likely reason I was an art dealer and owner of a gallery for years, instead of being an artist and having my work displayed in a gallery.
Today I am quite relieved to find that, even though I was not born with a large currency of innate visual artistic talent, such talent can be acquired and developed.
I can imagine that quite a large number of this article's readership disagrees - perhaps some vehemently - with that statement.
This is why I am bringing in someone exponentially more qualified to address the confusion on the subject of talent which has permiated societies around the art world for 100's of years.
I didn't just find any art instructor to help sort this out, Larry Gluck has been teaching others how to draw and paint since 1975. His 20 Mission: Renaissance fine art studios are currently teaching more than 3,000 students every week. His unique method of instruction, known as The Gluck Method, is also taught in various colleges in America.
So without further ado here is Mr. Gluck to help dispel this "talent myth..."
"I'm not very creative, I have no talent." If you had a nickel for every time I heard someone say that before I got them to sign up for drawing and painting instruction you would be very wealthy indeed.
Perhaps you too believe you lack the "artistic gene" or "special gift" called talent. Let's get real about this thing called talent, shall we?
Talent implies a degree of skill or ability. Ability in any field can be acquired. Were you born with the talents required of you in your current profession?
Of course not, you acquired the skills you needed in order to perform. Can you learn to play any musical instrument you want or would you need to have been born with the talent?
Like anything else, you can learn to draw and paint beautifully. You need only the desire to acquire the skills and someone to provide you with workable instruction.
Moreover, people often confuse talent with creativity. Both are important, they combine to create art, but they are not the same.
The dictionary defines 'create' as; to cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve by ordinary processes. Create is what evolves from one's own thought or imagination, to bring about, as by intention or design. Creativity could easily be described as what one imagines and then produces using one's skills.
People use their skills to bring their creative concepts into the real world for others to see. The painter observes a spectacular view. He imagines painting it in vibrant colors. Then, using his talent, he transforms his idea into the actual painting.
Not everyone is born with an abundance of talent, but each of us possesses a wealth of potential artistic creativity. It is imprisoned within all of us. We have only to free it.
Natural artistic talent alone is not enough. Those born with natural talent, an instinct for color, the ability to sketch a good likeness with charcoal, are often thought of as gifted. However in life, innate ability often turns out to be more of a liability than an asset.
It is often found that the Natural doesn't know how he does what he does. Natural talent, devoid of understanding, can be unreliable. One small failure can shatter it.
The Natural may eventually invent "reasons" as to why he can perform only some of the time. Examples are the writer who must drink to create his best lines or the painter who "knows" she can only work when Mars is transiting Sagittarius.
Unfortunately artistic talent and creativity are not properly married in the majority of fine art instruction curriculums. Studying under the Italian portrait master Giuseppe Trotta ' a classmate of Picasso himself, graduating from The Pratt Institute in New York, and founding the world's largest fine art program for drawing and painting instruction, have provided me much insight into art education.
I have seen both sides of the talent and creativity coin hobby-horsed in colleges and private art instruction programs. Rarely have I seen both sides given proper merit simultaneously. On the talent side, you have the art instructor who ignores any form of creativity. The music teacher, believing all great music was originated hundreds of years ago, who disallows any original work from students.
On the other hand, focusing on creativity alone, you find the art teacher who applauds the unrecognizable blob of paint smeared across the canvas. No fundamentals are taught, thus there is no improvement in the student's artistic ability to reproduce what he or she envision in their mind.
In developing talent one should begin with the fundamentals of drawing and sketching; the proper technique for holding a charcoal pencil, how to create depth and realism, the ability to capture light and shadow...
Once the ground work for these fundamentals is thoroughly laid the precise principles that underlie all drawing and painting skills can be taught.
This does not stifle originality, but instead provides the best possible environment for it to grow.
When the fine art student has both a solid technical foundation and strong nurturing of creativity, they are then capable of producing what they conceive in their mind.
And that is exactly where any artist wants to be."