Saturday, September 22, 2007


VARIATIONS ON A THEME - © Sue O'Kieffe circa 2005
Three of my first mandalas


Talent, in common parlance is "what comes easily." So, sooner or later, inevitably, you reach a point where the work doesn't come easily, and - Aha! It's just as you feared.

Wrong. By definition, whatever you have is exactly what you need to produce your best work. There is probably no clearer waste of psychic energy than worrying about how much talent you have -- and probably no more common.
from Art and Fear, Observations on the Perils of Artmaking, David Bayles and Ted Orland:
I must admit I do get queasy when people tell me I am talented. I think it is more than remembering the haunting voice of my mother who told me at 5 I would never be good enough to be an artist.

When we talk about talent, it's as if it is a given rather than the gift that it is. And it's a gift that must be nurtured in order to grow.

I was proud of these first mandalas I created two years ago. I like looking at them now and then to remember creation really is about the journey.
I will be back next Sunday with another Photoshop tutorial. Life won over my best laid plans this week.


lebanesa said...

Feel with you on that - praise is hard to take.
It seems to me that you have built up skills with all the hard work and effort, but that is so of everything, we can be 'a natural' but that only takes us so far.
Where other people perceive talent is in your eye for light and colour and shape, the choices you make, the things you reject, the expressiveness of the images you finally show us. So on top of the learnt and practised skills, you have your talent which enables you to use those skills to produce something out of the ordinary and your own. Maybe anyone could learn the skills, but I think few can gain the eye. Leave behind the echoes of negativity which hold you back from feeling comfortable with our enthusiasm and be ready to embrace it and take pleasure and joy in your ability to please us. It is a gift and you should say thank you for it, not feel embarrassed in case you are getting big-headed. LOL ;-) I LOVE your mandalas.

Irene said...

Imagine my surprise at seeing not one, but three mandalas today. How lucky can I get? Close examination reveals a common source, but what can it be? Never mind, they exist and that is enough, they are here in all their glory and I get to look at them every day until the next one comes along. I get the uneasy feeling that this may take awhile?! Oh well, I will appreciate what comes next all the more, but I can't wait.

dianeclancy said...

Hi Sue,

Fun to see your early mandalas!

I love your quotes today! I do think we all are given gifts ... and we have to use and nurture them.

~ Diane Clancy

Artists With Artitude said...

Whether talent is inborn or not, it is what WE MAKE of it that counts. And YOU ARE A FABULOUS and DESERVING artist.

Bobbie said...

Sue, yes your talent is more than just skillful manipulation of certain tools. It is something inside that drives you to create. An inner vision. Sometimes the best thing to say when you receive a complement is "thank you".