meet the artist








the art life

The first artist sighting

Why so many paintings?

The storm

The secret to becoming an exceptional artist.

What art language do you speak?

The mystery behind a subject

Art as autobiography

The artist in the recession

Come out and play

The nature of creativity

Living the artist's life

Creative block


learn to paint

Rocking chairs progressive

Canning jars progressive video


Chuck Close

Roy McLendon

Agnes Martin

The art of children

personal pieces

St. Patrick's Day


Favorite quotes

Day at the beach

Becoming an exceptional artist  


This weekend, I had a discussion with my brother George about what it takes become competent in creative work.

George, who uses his award-winning writing skills in his executive job, mentioned the "10,000 hour rule." This idea, made popular by Malcolm Gladwell in his book "Outliers," is based on the research of psychologist Anders Ericsson of Florida State University. Studying musicians at Berlin's Academy of Music, Ericsson found that the elite performers put in 10,000 hours of practice each, while the lesser accomplished students totaled 8,000 hours or less. While not a magic formula, because individuals will vary, the basic idea is that the more time you dedicate to any endeavor, the better you become.

My opinion has always been that a creative individual needs to think of his career like that of any professional. For example, an accountant or a dentist will spend many years in higher education before going professional. Financial survival during those years is often accomplished with an assortment of loans, part-time jobs, and family assistance. Gaining artistic skills and knowledge is no different. An creative needs to diligently work on his/her art for many years before mastering it. And, yes, we often find creative ways to pay the bills during those years. Isn't it interesting that if you spent 40 hours a week at your art for five years, you have practiced for 10,000 hours?

The secret is really not so mysterious. Now, get back to your work!