Updated: Dec 21, 2020
Thanks for the advice Jack.
I was teaching a workshop in the picturesque foothills south of Calgary. The first evening of our stay, while sipping an exceptional Bordeaux with a couple of the participants, our discussion turned to the value of practising in our artistic persuits.
One of the participants, suddenly exclaimed “if you want to read the best book on practicing pick up The Best Way to Better Golf by Jack Nicklaus." After a hearty laugh over how a book about golf could possibly pertain to art, I listened to his explanation. I was instantly convinced.
I found the book in a dim, dusty, moth ridden used bookstore for a meaty sum of two dollars. The book was small, just a little bigger than the size of a cell phone and about half as thick but the read was worth a hundred times more than the cost.
Jack Nicklaus is one of the sports greatest athletes. I will summarize the path to his success here, because the path to becoming a great artist is the same…
“Monday thru Friday I practise golf. I take my coach with me and I have him set up routine for me to practice all week. On Saturday I play a full round. I do not think about golf, I just golf. I hit the ball. I chip. I putt. After the game I sit with my coach over a frosty pint and he tells me all the things I did wrong. On Monday, the practice begins again. Practice is the key to playing but when you practice you are not playing and when playing you are not practising."
Same goes for your art. Practising painting is essential for making improvements. Do it all week and on Saturday, you paint. Nothing more. Everything you practiced will automatically fall into place. After you paint, your weakness will be evident and that is what you must practice next week.
The key is to know what you’re practicing!
Start Practicing Today...
Practice. Verb: repeat the action to improve; Exercise. Hone. Prepare. Rehearse. Study. Train. Warm up. Work. Work out. Discipline. Dress. Drill. Habituate. Iterate. Polish. Recite. Sharpen. Become seasoned. Build up. Do again. Do over. Repeat. Repeat again. And again. And again. Dress rehearse. Dry run. Go over. Run through. Shake-down. Try out. Tune up. Walk through. Acuminate. Furbish. Cultivate. Self mastery. Educate. Plan. Train. Run down. Evolve. Structure. Plan your work. Work your plan. Sub structure. Methodize. De-bug. Purpose. Project.
Practice: 30 tree paintings in a row
Practice: 25 sky paintings in a row
Practice: 15 mountain paintings in a row
Practice: 10 Hoary Marmot paintings in a row
Practice: 5 paintings of your breakfast in a row
It doesn't really matter what you paint as long as you plan your work and work your plan.
Below are 8 (6x8) 20 minute boat paintings I did in two days as part of my practice.
Keep those brushes swinging!
Your friend in art,