Friday, July 27, 2007

Talent

"There is no such thing as talent. What they call talent is nothing but the capacity for doing continuous work in the right way."
Winslow Homer


In my opinion, this is a pretty loaded statement, and I rankle at one particular part of it, the part about "the right way." What is your reaction?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Roy L. Smith said: "Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability."

BC

Deb Geyer said...

I take the "right" as being whatever is right for you. As a self-taught painter I don't think that Homer was suggesting there was only one way to do things.

The Idaho Beauty said...

BC, I like this better. I have no problem with the concept that raw talent isn't enough, that it has to be honed and nurtured. But that it does not exist at all? That just rote repetition (which is what I see implied in Winslow's statement)is all it takes? There's no soul in that, no soul in what it produces. No recognition that a person naturally can be better at one thing than another.

Deb, perhaps I reacted badly to his use of the term "right" because of the way the art quilt movement has had to buck the traditional quilting community's insistance of adhering to the traditional way of doing things, or in their mind, the "right" way. This has changed a bit over the years, as a better understanding of the genre has emerged. But initially, the traditional judges could not accepted uneven or large quilting stitches or alternate ways of finishing the edge of quilts. There was definitely a right and wrong way to do things in their minds, with no room for certain kinds of innovation.

Alison Schwabe said...

I have a problem with 'continuous' in that quote, frankly. Talent combines vision and the demonstrated abilities to work through whatever processes are necessary to each the result invisioned at the start of each project. IMHO, people who consistently do this in their particular field we term 'talented'. There is a great BBC series "Visionaries" starting this week on BBC World - I saw the first program yesterday, taking a first look at Leonardo da Vinci, Mozart, Christopher Wren -mentioning Edison and Einstein and others - I predict this series is going to produce a lot of food for thought about this very subject.

margaret said...

Finding the "right" way involves continuous critical assessment - a sort of stepping back and drawing your own map of "how to get there".

Felicity said...

Sheila, I have a lot of trouble with these sorts of quotes. For a start, who are these people to make such pronouncements? I see many quilters have these quotes with their signatures and some of them make my blood boil. They appeal to those who like to dictate their black and white views onto others. No discussion. Here it is, one size fits all. But the world is not black and white. Those quotes are generally written by the author for the author! (IMHO!)

Anonymous said...

Critics at time didn't think too highly of his work. Have you considered the quote may have been more for them than other artists as in, 'Don't talk to me about talent, I'll tell you what talent is.'

Mad Max