Friday, January 25, 2013

Leaps, bounds and Muscle Memory

    For all the artists out there, frustrated that perhaps their skills are not growing fast enough, I give the advice of patience and diligence. While this advice might seem pat, I can assure you that this advice is sound for it is backed up from my talks with other artists about our shared personal experiences. The skills of some artist’s you see, grow at a slow and steady pace as they garner their art education and this is reflected in their work which slowly plateaus, but other people on the other hand learn by what I call “Leaps and Bounds” from which seemingly, from time to time, to spontaneously increase in skill.

    “Leaps and Bounds” in this case is a misnomer, it only appears to others, and sometimes even to yourself, that your skills periodically and spontaneously increase in level, which is then followed by a plateau time period before the next jump. What is really happening is that the education learned from teachers, peers and self-education has only laid dormant, then to surface when the artist is ready. The “ready” moment, varies from artist to artist and often won’t show for months or even years, so these artists need to learn a lot of patience. However, this plateau period of little or no growth is just an incubation period for the conscious and subconscious is assimilating the information, assembling its self like a jigsaw puzzle, then when the artist is ready to leave their comfort zone, those skills come forth in a epiphanic bloom.

    The “Leaps and Bounds” artist have the advantage of continued and ever climbing growth, but this is a double edge sword, for if the artist stops painting or drawing they start to go down hill and must re-learn everything once again. So, it is vital that artists who learn this way to maintain their skills and keep up the effort to always learn more about their craft. The diligent artist, no matter how they learn, gain a secondary skill which is called muscle memory, yet another misnomer. Actually, muscle memory crosses over into any skill and it is gain merely from everyday practice. You know when a skill has become muscle memory when you switch from thinking about what you are doing and not how you are doing it. For artists, muscle memory takes many years to totally sink in, but when it does, the artist’s art is like a bird released from a cage.

    So to all those frustrated artists out there who think their skills are not improving, hang in there, don’t give up and keep up the diligence, for you will never know when you will have a “Leaps and Bound”.