It’s happened more than once that when someone looks at my work, they will say, “Oh, you are so talented! I wish I had talent!” As much as I appreciate the compliment, and I understand exactly what they are saying, I am here to say that 1) What appears to be talent can be the culmination of years of work, and 2) YOU have talent, too!
Let’s talk about the second point first. Everyone has some sort of skill or gift. Everyone, including you! It may not be one that is as visible as the gift of painting. You may have the gift of hospitality, of making people feel comfortable and happy, or of taking care of other people’s children (a shout out to babysitters, child care workers, and foster parents everywhere). Believe me, it takes talent to do that. And you know what, the impact of your talent can affect countless lives. An artist can affect the person who is viewing art, and that is a wondrous thing. People who help others can influence generations of people they have never even met. Think about that the next time you think you don’t have talent – you may be influencing millions of people to come and you didn’t even realize it.
As far as artistic talent goes, when looking at a work of art, you are usually seeing the result of years of hard work. Take me for example – I have the ability to look at something and draw it realistically. A great talent, right? But when I decided to create art, I had to learn all the accompaniments that go with drawing – composition, color, form, center of interest, harmony, balance, and on and on. I have been learning all those things for well over 40 years! The gift was a starting point to the work that it took to become “talented”.
So I guess my point is this: First, YOU are talented. Find what you love to do, something that affects others positively and do it. Second, you can develop skill in art. I am not the artist that drew daily from the age of 5. I’m the artist that discovered a love of art when I was an adult, and have worked hard to develop it into something that brings joy to others.