|6/2/16 inks, colored pencils|
On Tuesday, the last day of the month, I went out scouting for urban couches – the “free” kind that people put out on the sidewalk on moving day in hopes that they will be hauled away. I came home disappointed, but then yesterday I hit the jackpot right on my own block: the most cat-shredded couch I have ever seen! The bonus giveaway right next to it was the cat’s scratching post/condo, which looked in much better condition than the couch. (Why use a post when you have an entire couch to shred?)
I made this sketch very quickly and a bit furtively because the neighbor who had abandoned the couch was talking with a visitor right inside the front doorway, and the door was open. (Stealthy sketcher that I am, I was mostly hidden by a shrub.)
See the rest of the sketches in my ongoing urban couches series.
In other news:
Circulating on Facebook this morning is an NPR story called “Practice Makes Possible: What We Learn By Studying Amazing Kids.” What caught my attention first was the cartoon leading the story, which resonates strongly with me about practicing a skill like drawing and how that practice is not related to “talent.” This is why I bristle whenever someone looks at my sketches and exclaims that I must have “natural talent,” even when I know they mean that as a compliment. (“Yeah, thanks — I’m at about hour 2,000 with 8,000 left to go; I wish that ‘natural talent’ would kick in a little sooner.”)
Reading further into the article, I learn that Anders Ericsson, author of Peak: Secrets From The New Science Of Expertise, believes “This is the dark side of believing in innate talent. It can beget a tendency to assume that some people have a talent for something and others don’t and that you can tell the difference early on. If you believe that, you encourage and support the ‘talented’ ones and discourage the rest, creating the self-fulfilling prophecy. ... The best way to avoid this is to recognize the potential in all of us — and work to find ways to develop it.”
Practice is key to improving performance, but not just any practice – “deliberate practice.” Ideally the deliberate practice would happen with a mentor, teacher or coach who knows how to show people how to reach the level of performance they want to achieve and can help them set reasonable expectations.