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Myths About Being an Artist

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Art Myth No.1: You Need Talent to be an Artist
Ways to Destroy Your Artistic Creativity

Stop worrying if you've got the talent to be an artist! Talent alone won't make you a great artist.

Image © Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.

Fact: Some people do have more of an inherent talent, or an aptitude, for art than others. But worrying about how much talent you do or don't have is just a waste of energy. Everyone can learn to master the techniques fundamental to good painting and to improve their creativity. Having bucketfuls of "talent" is no guarantee you'll be a good artist because it takes more than the ability to be creative.

The advantage of believing (or others believing) you've ‘got talent’ when you start out is that initially artistic things come easily to you, rather than your having to strive to achieve, and you get lots of positive feedback. But relying on talent will only get you so far. Sooner or later you'll reach a spot where your talent isn't enough. What then?

If you've worked at developing artistic skills, from how different brushes work to how colors interact, and are used to actively pursuing ideas rather than expecting creative thoughts to come to you, you're not at the whim of your so-called talent. You've already in the habit of exploring possibilities, of investigating, of pushing things one step further. You're set for the long term.

And if you believe you haven't any artistic talent at all? Let's skip the platitudes about everyone having some creative aspect to them and how everyone has some special talent. If you truly believed you didn't have any artistic ability, you wouldn't have any desire to paint. It's that desire, combined with persistence and the systematic learning of painting techniques, not talent, which make an successful artist.

Degas is quoted as saying: "Everyone has talent at 25. The difficulty is to have it at 50."

“What distinguishes a great artist from a weak one is first their sensibility and tenderness; second, their imagination, and third, their industry.” – John Ruskin

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