Art is Hard

I’m beginning to realize that all great art is hard work. There is little you can do that will be excellent if it comes easily. For something to be truly great it requires effort and hard work. Something may come easily at times, but it will still require a massive effort, and parts of it will truly be hard work.

A work of art takes hours upon hours to paint. The artist has to hand paint every tiny detail. Every nuance of color, every shadow, every shade, every leaf on the tallest oak. Painting the leaves may be seem easy, but try painting a few thousand of them. It takes a lot of dedication to paint a forest.

Every book takes hours upon hours to write. Every word has to be chosen, every sentence has to be crafted, every paragraph has to be thought out. And then the writer has to go back and hack off the fat and slop and the just plain crappy writing and do it again. It’s not that writing a book is that hard. It’s the dedication required to fill a few hundred pages that keeps most of us from becoming published authors. It’s one thing to fill several hundred pages of text, it’s an entirely different thing to make those hundred pages interesting, and it’s an entirely different thing to make those hundred pages flow. And if that’s not enough, it’s an entirely different thing to go back through those hundred pages and be brave enough to throw away the fifty pages that really suck.

I don’t think any thing that comes easy is worth much. And if you think something comes easy, you might want to think again. Even the work of Jackson Pollack–the famous drip painter of the late 1950s (he literally poured paint onto a wall-sized canvas)–involves a tremendous amount of work. Try simulating one of his works. You can slop some paint on a canvas, but it won’t be a Jackson Pollack.

True art requires hard work. Fortunately for the artist, the hard work is the best work.

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