The Will to Win Means Nothing Without the Will to Prepare

– Juma Ikangaa, Marathon runner, Tanzania

I would like to begin by thanking the Muddy Colors for the opportunity to contribute to this forum. My only real qualification to be a contributor is that I believe ultimately, we share a mutual objective: to develop and fulfill whatever potential we have as creative individuals.

Learning to be an artist is an unending process, because it is a process of individual discovery and development. We can go to a school or teach ourselves, we can study the works of masters who had tools no better than ours. We can learn to draw what we see, we can learn how to use values and line, how to use color and composition, how to create narrative and mood. One of the most important things is often overlooked- knowing when to stop.

Making a picture or a sculpture is a process that allows the artist to show something of themselves- but if you over work something, you run the risk of rendering out the humanity of a piece. Learning when to stop is a process of understanding one’s own taste…and developing an objectivity about the work.

I made many paintings using a timer set for 20 minutes, because I wanted to see what would happen if I eliminated the variable of time. You can do a surprising amount in 20 minutes of total concentration.

If you try this I think you may be surprised by what happens. In my case it took a while- about 200 of these daily paintings before something began to emerge. But I think what I saw emerging was a form of creative honesty that I had previously been unable to tap into. Sometimes we call that a “style”.  It might work for you too.