Prom Queen: #4

A bit of History before I talk about this painting…

In My Favorite Murder, Episode #162 (Prom Queen), Karen and Georgia jokingly told people to paint this picture McKenzie Brelyn posted on Instagram. I’ve been practicing watercolor for a while now, and Rachel and I will be seeing them live in Pittsburgh on Friday, so I decided I’d give it a go.

Here’s a link to the episode.

On to my notes/explanation/lessons learned…

This is without argument one of the worst paintings I’ve made yet. I’m not fishing for compliments, I’m trying to prove that the only way to achieve mastery is by persevering through failures. I haven’t proven my point yet, because I haven’t achieved mastery. But I am going to keep trying.

I have been painting almost every day for, what, 6 months now? My first attempt at the Farm Road was on Sept 4, 2018. I have painted for, oh let’s say an average of 2 hours every day for six months. It’s probably more like 3/day, but I’ll go with a conservative estimate. That’s 1,460 hours total. It feels like I’ve been at this for so long that I should be good by now… but that’s the lie. Six months is nothing. The true masters keep at it for decades. It doesn’t take decades of practice to become a master, but it definitely takes longer than you want. If you quit, then you achieved something. You got better at it than 99% of the world, because 99% of people won’t even start. But mastery is rare. It’s not rare because there are only a few special savants born every generation, masters are rare because 99.99% of people don’t keep pushing through the plateau. They get frustrated with a lack of progress after what feels like a long time, and think well, I’m just not talented enough.

That’s how it feels right now. But that’s the whole point. That’s why I’m posting all of these here. I’m not trying to showcase my successful paintings, I’m trying to showcase everything. The good ones – the shitty ones. So if I am able to stick it out and keep practicing, if I ever do achieve that level of mastery I’m after, then I’ll be able to say with confidence that talent is a lie. There is no such thing. Talent is just a word we use to justify giving up.

I’m not saying giving up is bad. It’s fine to give up! Giving up means you tried! It’s not practical to become a master of many things. I’m saying you shouldn’t give up because you think you don’t have the talent you need to achieve your goals. Instead, forget about that lie. Throw it away, and push through. Try again. And again. And again… maybe for a decade. At some point, you’ll achieve the goals you had set when you started, though by then, you’ll probably have loftier goals in mind…

I was thinking as I painted this muddy overworked jumbled mess of a way to capture what I’m thinking, this is what I came up with:

Dedication is the mother of consistency. Consistency is the mother of spontaneity. Spontaneity is the mother of mastery. And Talent is a monster under the bed.

I’ll have to keep plugging away to see if I’m right. Who knows – maybe I’ll find out that talent is real, and after no matter how many months/years of practice I’ll never achieve my goals. 

Wouldn’t that suck?