Developing Artistic Skills

Perfecting Your Art

Michael Ken

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painting by author

You have a clear vision of what you want to express, the creativity to uniquely convey it, and a medium with which to express yourself. All forms of art expression have unique skills that should be mastered. Whether it is grammar usage for writers, scales for musicians, or brushstrokes for painters, it is important to develop the tools you need to fulfill your artistic vision.

The greatest artist does not have any concept which a single piece of marble does not itself contain within its excess, though only a hand that obeys the intellect can discover it.

-Michelangelo

Skill development has many facets, and as a serious art practitioner, you will want to spend time working on them all.

Understand The Importance Of Basic Skills

Throughout the ages, students have scoffed at performing basic techniques, seeing them at boring and monotonous. For just as long, the masters have preached their importance. While novices want to learn advanced techniques that seem more exciting and flashy, the expert is always looking back to the basics, embracing their foundational stability and practicality.

The words basic technique seem to imply something of a precursor to the more meaty aspects of an art form. To the beginner, the basics feel like the preflight safety check as opposed to flying; like the parsley next to the steak. There is always sense of wanting to rush through the basics in order to start the real aspects of an art.

The truth is that basic techniques are not basic, they are foundational. The masters of your art did not choose a group of techniques that were easy and call them “basics”. Rather, they chose techniques that were foundational to all other techniques in the art. The basic movements are not discarded once learned. They are used to build a myriad of other techniques upon their foundation. Perform the basics well and you have the potential to develop good advanced techniques, but perform the basics poorly and that potential is lost. In this sense, the first lessons are the most important, and they should never…

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Michael Ken

My journal about life in the woods. Visit intothewoods.blog to see my complete journal, photographs, and articles.