Sunday, December 13, 2015

How to be an Expert?
I read somewhere that one has to put 100,000 hours practicing a skill in order to become an "expert" at that skill. First, that seems sort of a random number. Second, I'm not certain if that means in general--for example, one would be an "expert artist" if one completed 100,000 hours drawing, painting, and sculpting; or if it means in specifics--100,000 hours painting from the model, 100,000 hours painting still lifes, 100,000 hours drawing goofy characters, etc.
I don't know what the author meant, and it seriously is kind of a dumb thing to try to quantify.
Most of the illustrators/artists I know are many years my junior, and they are more skilled than I.
I've put years worth of hours into practicing art, in many different forms. Even conservatively, my figures still get me to 160,000. I'm not sure what that author's definition of expert might be, but I'd be hard pressed to label myself as one.

Don't get me wrong; I know a lot about art--both art history and art techniques, and am confident in many of my abilities. But I'm maybe most confident in my ability to learn. By practicing. And that's all I really care about.
So I continue to hit the Life Painting sessions at Helikon Gallery (where I mostly life draw), and get outside to paint, and draw and paint in my studio--and anywhere else it's appropriate. My aim's not to become someone's definition of an expert, but to keep getting better at it all; including the ability to share what I've learned--of the abilities I have at any given time--with others.
If I'd have liked numbers, I wouldn't have become an artist in the first place.
Thanks for reading.


  1. Being an expert is for someone else to say. So I will say it, you're an expert.
    Anyway, I really enjoyed your conte and color (did I guess it right?) drawings on this post. I especially like the seated man. So relaxed, with a certain intriguing tension in his clasped hands.
    You are a fantastic teacher and have lots of good things to share. I remmeber the time you invited me to your class (high school?) and I brought my dolls. Oh boy. Those kids were so intimidating; sitting there rock still, no expression at all). Then you told me afterward they kept talking about it all. That made me feel so good. I am happy if I can share any part of my process as an artist with others and bring them pleasure or joy or inspiration.
    You are like that even more than I, Tom, an expert artist and an expert learner/student. You've got what it takes to persevere for life!
    I am so glad to know you and learn from you!

    1. I appreciate the kind words, Miss Gladys. I want you to know the feelings/opinions are mutual :) (I actually used a colerase pencil and a graphite pencil to do the drawings.) Thank you again!

  2. I have never heard of a colerase pencil. Hmmmmmm.... I'm out of it. (red face). Mr. Tom, you are one of my very best friends in life. Have a great day!

    1. No worries there, Miss Gladys--I just learned about them a month ago. Likewise, you are not only a great friend, but a great teacher too!


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