The Speed Painter and Deliberate Practice
I am reading a very motivational book, “Talent is overrated.” By Geoff Colvin, Senior editor at large for FORTUNE.
Scientific studies and historical stories of great artists, musicians, business men and athletes.
From Mozart to Tiger Woods, to Warren Buffett, It all gets down to one thing.
Deliberate practice. The more hours you put in the better you get. But it must be hard deliberate, contemplative practice of the small things.
My best speed painting pieces on stage come from rehearsing a piece. Videotaping the performance in my studio and photographing it. Sitting in my chair. Looking at the photos and video. Having a cup of coffee or a snack.
Long hours all alone, puzzling over the mystery of each new piece.
Thinking about it. “What is wrong with that eye? That mouth is not right?” Then going back to the photo or music track hitting in the wrong place, editing the music, looking for a different song. Making parts shorter and others longer. Being inspired and not afraid to scrap the whole thing and start from scratch if need be. Surfing the web and finding new reference photos to understand a nose, a mouth, an eye.
Then hitting it again and repeating the thoughtful, slow painful process. Then learning it upside down.
Then timing it to music some more. getting it shorter with each take. shaving 30 seconds here. A minute there. The more time I can put in before a show the better the show goes. Or the longer I have performed it live, the better it comes out on stage the next time.
The same is true for drawing, illustration, logo design, caricature, and
BTW if you are a caricaturist and not doing studio caricature slowly and thoughtfully for more money so you can work things out, then your live work will never get better.
It’s all about the woodshed. And it is not particularly fun. It’s a grind. But it is the only thing that makes a difference.
You only have the talent that you have. After that, only time put in with deliberate practice, will improve your stuff. Time alone will not get you there.
Or myself. Time to double down. Who knows where this journey will ultimately lead?
Long studio day ahead today. Gotta get started!Tags: Deliberate Practice, Lessons
Speed Painter Tribute to Boston Strong
My hosts at the EMC2 Conference in Las Vegas this week were mostly from Boston. As a speed painter and event entertainer I performed 17 paintings in 3 days for the conference.
I was thinking about the Boston Marathon events that rocked the nation recently. Since 911, things have changed. It moved me to see the first respondents running towards the chaos. This is who we are as Americans. Our world is in flux and chaos from time to time. There are horrible things happening all around us and now within our nation. But the good people of Boston are a beacon of who we are. Where we came from and ultimately, where we are going.
Speed Painter and the Houston Rockets; Revisited
We were pretty excited to be asked to do a speed painting for the Houston Rockets again. We last performed for my home town team in 2005. I painted Ray Charles on a tarp on the floor. Much has changed since then.
As a speed painter I have been all over the world and performed for other NBA, NFL and MLB teams, arenas and events. So I was super happy to be invited back and that the Rockets were in the playoffs.
As a caricaturist I used to work the Rockets games performing for the kids in the Hermann Hospital Skybox, and then I was free to watch the game after halftime. I was the “official” caricaturist for the Rockets for three seasons. Then my Paintjam show took off and I retired from caricature work.
I brought my son, Harvey to help with the show in addition to my tour manager and wife. Harvey is in theatre in high school and very talented. As a thespian, he does not get the least bit nervous on stage. He came out on the court and turned the canvas for me and did a beautiful and professional job. Thanks, buddy!
With my busy schedule finding rehearsal time for this event was a challenge, but our team doubled down and we got it done. We flew to Marshall University the day before and performed for them in WV and rocked the house, then flew back to Houston the next day and performed for the Rockets that night.
The stadium was rocking. You can feel the electricity at these large stadium events. I really feel a connection with my audience when they are “up” and ready to rock! I did a speed painting of James Harden in around five minutes. We had 7 minutes total to get the stuff on and off the court and perform and not a second more. NBA is really strict about that, so no dropped brushes or goof ups!
The face came together and I could literally feel the crowd. WOW! What a rush! This is the part of my job that I LOVE! Spreading the joy of imagination and art in time with the music.
As I took my bow, I opened my shirt to reveal my Rockets T shirt underneath which took the crowd over the top. As I left the court I tossed my paintjam hat high into the crowd.
The team did not win that night but had a really close and exciting game. I like to think that I had some small part in the effort at least. Thank you Houston Rockets. You treated us like kings and were just awesome.