What’s talent, anyway?

I was kidnapped by a friend several times last week. Said friend mistreated me with ice creams, delicious lunchs, trips to Tarifa, dinners and beers. Somehow, I managed to go camping to the beach side with my best friends too. And along the way, I’ve been working out, reading like a mad woman, and unfortunately, I’ve been (I am) ill too.

Translation: I haven’t painted a thing. 

Do not fret, my friends. I made myself sit down this morning to start a new piece. However,  I am not happy at all with the sketch (thus, the lack of picture of it) and I was so incredibly frustrated after a few attempts that I decided to leave it until I was in a better frame of mind. See? This happens constantly to me. Insecurity takes a hold of me every time I start something new, because I believe I will never be able to transform my thoughts into something worth looking at. It’s only when I’m stubborn enough to overcome those initial doubts that I end up finishing what I’ve started.

For those of you who believe that painting is just second nature to some of us, that it doesn’t require dedication, patience and hard work, you’re completely and utterly wrong. Talent without a backup is wasted talent. Talent will get you nowhere if you rely exclusively on that, if you wait for it to give you the best of you. Talent is volatile and unstable. Haruki Murakami expressed what I’m trying to say brilliantly in Norwegian Wood, one of my favorite books:

“I know I have a pretty good sense for music, but she was better than me. I used to think it was such a waste! I thought, ‘If only she had started out with a good teacher and gotten the proper training, she’d be so much further along!’ But I was wrong about that. She was not the kind of child who could stand proper training. There just happen to be people like that. They’re blessed with this marvelous talent, but they can’t make the effort to systematize it. They end up squandering it in little bits and pieces. I’ve seen my share of people like that. At first you think they’re amazing. Like, they can sight-read some terrifically difficult piece and do a damn good job playing it all the way through. You see them do it, and you’re overwhelmed. you think, ‘I could never do that in a million years.’ But that’s as far as they go. They can’t take it any further. And why not? Because they won’t put in the effort. Because they haven’t had the discipline pounded into them. They’ve been spoiled. They have just enough talent so they’ve been able to play things well without any effort and they’ve had people telling them how great they are from the time they’re little, so hard work looks stupid to them. They’ll take some piece another kid has to work on for three weeks and polish it off in half the time, so the teacher figures they’ve put enough into it and lets them go to the next thing. And they do that in half the time and go on to the next piece. They never find out what it means to be hammered by the teacher; they lose out on a certain element required or character building. It’s a tragedy.”

So yes, I am not one of the talented kids that gets the easy approval by doing what feels good to them. I am a firm believer of the trial- error method and a constant participant of it. In truth, I haven’t studied anything related to art, I only went to painting classes when I was 10 years old (and didn’t last long in them) and I hadn’t had any contact with watercolors until 6 months ago. However, whatever comes out of this insanity of mine is not the result of talent. While painting, I have to fight my insecurities into submission. I have to do ad re-do sketches a hundred times. I spend hours just looking at what I’ve drawn or painted to decide if I actually like what I’ve created. It doesn’t come easy to me. I make it come.

I’ll leave you some pictures of the places I’ve been to lately. Hopefully, next time I’ll be sharing pictures of new paintings!

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Weekend Recollection

It’s been a really weird weekend. A really violent-fun-nice-wannamurderyou kind of weekend. It’s been nice and fun because I had the opportunity to finally meet someone that I’ve come to really care for after a few years of Tumblr/Twitter/Facebook interaction. He’s a talented musician (my absolute favourite among his pieces is “The Departure”; you can listen to it here), a master of film criticism (here’s his website, although it’s in Spanish) and a good friend who understands me and the situations I usually go through because he has experienced them first, and knows better than anyone the prize that comes with frustation and failure when you know how to transform those feelings into art form. Nothing I could say about him would make him justice, so just click on the links above and let his brilliance do the talking.

It’s been a violent wannamurderyou kind of weekend because some things have happened that have made me stop believing in human race. Well, yeah, I am exaggerating, but the fact that I am incredibly disappointed in someone I never thought I would have a problem with remains. And because I am who I am, I have extrapolated my anger to everyone surrounding the offender (I’m as nice as I sound). Right now, I hope red wine and cheese are being placed on a tray so I can get bribed into forgiveness. And it will work because the way into any respectable woman’s heart is always red wine and cheese. If she doesn’t like either one of those things, run! She is not to be trusted.

Anyway, I have painted A LOT. Those of you who follow me on Facebook know it. I’ve been doing something slightly different, though. I’ve been focusing a bit more on male portraits because I want to master them before I start doing the more serious portraits I plan to do: real people portraits. And by real people I mean the people around me; family members, friends etc. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

I don’t want to finish this post without some sort of musical reference, without a soundtrack.  Somehow it’s easier for me to process certain events when there’s a song in my head portraying such events or my reactions towards them. What can I say? Sometimes I’m that melodramatic…

Single book of matches, gonna burn what’s standing in the way
Roaring down the mountain, now they’re calling on the fire brigade
Bury all the pictures and tell the kids that I’m ok
If I’m forgotten you’ll remember me for a day

I, I won’t ever be your cornerstone, I

All the black inside me is slowly seeping from the bone
Everything I cherished is slowly dying or it’s gone
Little shaking babies and drunkards seem to all agree
Once the show gets started it’s bound to be a sight to see

I won’t ever be your cornerstone
I don’t wanna be here holding on
 I won’t ever be your cornerstone, I

WATCH HER RUN, CAN YOU FEEL IT? 

 I won’t ever be your cornerstone
 I don’t wanna be here holding on
 I won’t ever be your cornerstone
 I don’t wanna be holding on