Touching Painting of An Elderly Couple Dancing by Fine Artist, Gavin Collins

The Road To Greatness

“We have featured the works of Gavin Collins in the past (I am one of Gavin’s loyal fans).  He was the artist commissioned to paint the artwork for our one Irish hotel project.  At the time of the art installation, Gavin joined us in Ireland. Since we shared digs together, many a late night was spent talking into the wee hours of the morning over a few glasses of whiskey.  The net result – I got to know a little bit about Gavin, who is so unbelievably passionate about his art.
 
There being so much depth to Gavin, prompted me to ask him to come on board and write a guest post for us. In his article below, he opens up an issue that hounds most professionals, no matter what your field, myself included.
 
Introducing, (long drum roll and announcement made in that singsong voice!) Mr. Gavin Collins…”

Painting of Lower Main Road Salt River by Fine Artist, Gavin Collins.

 By Gavin Collins

Become an Artist, Interior Designer or Decorator in 6 weeks with this easy to understand course – RUBBISH!

You see this type of thing all the time and some people really believe that they can become good at something within a short period.  Ask yourself, who you know who is great at what he does and has not been doing it for more than 10 years. No designer, no decorator and no artist.  Most successful artists have been painting all their lives.

So you want to be an artist, you go out, you buy yourself some canvas, you print some business cards with your name in a nice artistic script with “Fine Artist” underneath it.  You start painting.  Clearly, things don’t go as well as you expected. The immediate most common route thereafter – you change your business card, which now reads like this: your name and “Abstract Artist” underneath it.  At this point after not selling a single painting, or maybe one or two to your great Aunt, you decide to try your hand at interior decorating.  Now your re-decorate your sister’s house free of charge, leading once again to a change of the business card details.

Once again – RUBBISH!!

Here is how it really works. 

Painting of Voilinist by Fine Artist, Gavin Collins.

Something ignites a tiny flame inside you and points you in a direction.  You start looking in that direction. You start yearning to understand it. You start reading and you start doing.  The desire gets stronger, the drive takes over and you don’t stop doing.  Nothing else matters, the lack in sales is a non-issue. You don’t need clients – you just love doing it.

 Then one day you begin to realize that if you had an ounce of talent when you started out , 6 or 7 years down the line, you begin realize you that can almost do this thing.  Clients find you, finances come and the drive gets even stronger.  That is how long it truly takes. Tiger Woods started playing golf when he was 4 years old.  It has taken him a lifetime to become great at it. It is no different for anyone you can think of who is great in their profession.  Imagine this- undergoing an operation by a person who decided to become a surgeon last week.  There is very little difference – he does or he doesn’t know what the hell he is doing.

I remember the day I decided to become an artist.  The smell of oil paint was the ignition. I remember painting through the night and then sleeping on my school desk in the day. I remember painting on every bed sheet my mother owned until I had to sleep on a mattress. I remember painting before eating, before drinking. It consumed me and still does to this day. There is no place in the world that I would rather be than standing behind an easel. It has been 26 years now and I finally understand what I am doing. I recently looked back at some of my earlier work done in the first few years as an artist (or my delusion of being an artist at the time) only to realize now, that I clearly knew very little at the time. I also realize that there is not enough time left to learn all I want to learn about art.

The most common question asked when someone stands in front of my work is, how long does it take to paint a piece.  It is difficult to answer without getting annoyed because it took a lifetime.  What I would call a Master Series Painting now takes me only hours to complete because of years of understanding what paint does.  Every brush stroke is now exact and intentional, whereas in the beginning it was hit and miss.

Touching Painting of An Elderly Couple Dancing by Fine Artist, Gavin Collins

It takes desire, it takes drive, and it takes hours and hours and hours of practice.

“Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master.  For this reason, mastery demands all of a person” – Albert Einstei

So, to consistently create great sellable artworks and note I said consistently, give yourself 6 years at least before you print your business cards.  This goes for pretty much any profession that takes skill of the hand or eye.

There is no protection left in the world for the unknowing consumer.  Gone are the days when an artisan had to do a long apprenticeship under a Master or a designer had to belong to a Designer’s Guild. Your decorator may be able to wing a conversation on the latest colour trends but can he/she measure your curtains?

In conclusion, let me leave you with this thought – the next time you hire a surgeon, decorator, interior designer or artist, consider whether they have all it takes to do the job consistently well.

Beautiful Abstract Painting By Fine Artist, Gavin Collins.

P.S.  This is my very first blog, so if is not done well wait 6 or 7 years…

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5 thoughts on “The Road To Greatness

  1. As I sat and read through this article, I was reminded of an excellent business book called “OUTLIERS, the Story of Success” authored by Malcolm Gladwell.

    He maintains that studies have showed that it requires 10,000 hours of practice to achieve a level of mastery associated with being an expert. I also remember him giving the account of the journey to the rise of mastery in the lives of people such as Bill Gates and the Beatles. All of whom had put in the long yards (or 10,000 hours) before they were expert enough and with it gain recognition.

    Go figure – 10,000 hours.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly – Malcolm Gladwell writes that it takes 10000 hours to become great at anything. Nice first blog!

  3. Great Blog Post! Although I’ve been designing for years, I still make it a point to learn something new about craft everyday. This not only keeps my skills growing but it fuels my passion.

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