Practice, Practice, Practice

Did you watch the World Series? No, I’m not going to talk about baseball. Did you see the Dick’s Sporting Goods commercial?

That commercial (despite the rude comments on YouTube) really is a great metaphor for what it takes to be a painter. I had never even heard of Dick’s Sporting Goods (there aren’t any where I live), but I watched that commercial of athletes practicing dribbling basketballs backwards, or practicing throwing footballs, or practicing balance beam routines, and I thought: this could be about painting.

  • Dancers take dance class every morning.
  • Basketball players practice dribbling
  • Musicians do their scales.
  • Baseball players take batting practice.
  • Heck, astronauts practice in swimming pools to simulate zero gravity.

And painters wonder why they don’t paint masterpieces every time they step up to the canvas.

I suppose it has to do with the fact that a practice painting feels exactly like “real” painting: get all the equipment out, go to a location (if you paint plein air), set up, use those expensive oil paints, do thumbnails, and then take an hour or four to do a painting. Only the grounds might be cheaper than for “real” paintings. Musicians know that when they practice, they aren’t performing.

With painting, anything you get might be frame-able, so you’re always thinking you’re painting. It must be the same with writing: any character sketch can develop into a novel.  But you have to develop the muscles to create, and keep them in shape.

It’s all in the attitude.

What do you think? How much do you practice? Do you draw every day? I’ll respond to your comments after practice.