Monday, September 9, 2013

The Art of Practice

"Practice" by Jim Carpenter, Acrylic on Paper, 5 1/2 " x 7 1/2" 

"Practice" is my painting #6 in the Leslie Saeta's 30 Day Challenge.  Notice that it ought to be painting #9 since this is Day 9, but I started 3 days late.  Now I'm working on catching up.  Guess what the best thing for that is.  Practice!  And this 30 Day Challenge is a great way to sharpen one's skills, and a great way to build in the discipline of painting every day.  But let's talk about practice and the painting for a minute.  

The figure on the left is a print from a stamp that I made about 4 years ago. It is based on the Chi Kung (Qigong)  pattern called "Lifting the Sky" - the best single Chi Kung pattern in the world.  It is one of the most beautiful of the patterns and, for me, the figure stands as a symbol for this ancient Chinese self-healing art form that has in many ways changed my life.  This ancient art form is transformative - well the practice of this art form is transformative.  You have to practice regularly to get results.  

And that is what I think this painting is about, the transformative power of  practice.  Whether it is Qigong you are practicing or tap dancing or the piano  or spinning on your toes, you develop your skill  through practice.  

It is a common misconception to think that artists are able to do what they do because they have a natural talent and it comes easy to them.  But we know that isn't so.  You don't get to spin like Osipova does in the clip linked to above without practice.  Fred Astaire, one of the most gifted dancers of the 20th Century, was known for spending long hours in the rehearsal studio perfecting his work.

To get to the right side of the painting you have to pay attention to the figure on the left - "Practice!"  I'm grateful for the 30 in 30 Challenge.  I need the practice!  How about you?


  1. Beautifully expressed, Jim! Practice is key to all we do...

    1. Yes, and we sure are getting a lot of it in this 30 day challenge aren't we!