mad in pursuit journal


Practice, schmactice

Yesterday was my figure drawing class, but I dare not show the results. My "life" drawings all looked like corpses. Blame it on the model -- he was too skinning and his poses too straight up and down.

The teacher asked if I'd practiced during the week. Groan. No.

When I took a college drawing course back in the Eighties, we had to keep a sketch book and show it to the teacher each week. She graded it. She scowled if I drew from a photograph instead of from (what the cyberspace kids now call) "meatspace."

What if I practiced every day on every thing that requires daily practice? Writing, drawing, speaking into a microphone, meditating, yoga... Not to mention studying the masters who do it well.

I'm realizing that practice is different from producing a product. Practice exercises are like those old penmanship exercises, circles and slanted lines, or a musician dutifully doing her daily scales. World-class athletes still do their drills. Serious artists do serious practice. Genius is never taken for granted.

But serious artists are hedgehogs, right?* Nurturing that one single-minded passion.

I'm a fox.* A generalist. A perenniel apprentice of all trades. How does a fabulous fox rule? There must be a practice model. I'm thinking... I'm thinking...


Drop me a line!

* My fox & hedgehog entry