Welcome to Kathleen’s Art Blog!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Creative Success and Late Bloomers


Having become a huge fan of the nonfiction writer Malcolm Gladwell after reading OUTLIERS: THE STORY OF SUCCESS, I began reading WHAT THE DOG SAW while visiting my newly married daughter and son-in-law in Minneapolis. Minneapolis, by the way, is a wonderfully artistic and cultural city that is also a very forward-moving, bike-friendly, diverse place with LOTS of incredible restaurants. And in case you hate winters, the whole downtown has over-the-street enclosed walkways -- two to every block as well as a nice light rail system. My daughter works in the gift shop of the Walker Museum of Contemporary Art so we had a very in-depth tour. I came away tremendously inspired.

But, I digress - back to WHAT THE DOG SAW. In the chapter entitled, "Late Bloomers: Why Do We Equate Genius with Precocity?", Gladwell bases his discussion on a study by David Galenson ("Old Masters and Young Geniuses: The Two Life Cycles of Artistic Creativity"). He describes prodigies like Picasso as rarely engaging in open-ended exploration, tending to be conceptual in the sense that they start with a clear idea of where they want to go and then they execute it. Late Bloomers, on the other hand, are experimental, searching their whole lives, wanting to hone their craft, and are often dissatisfied with their work. Late Bloomers do not necessarily start late in life and often do as much artistic endeavor in their youth as prodigies do, but their approach is different. Gladwell compares Picasso to Cezanne who even though was an artist all his life, did not have a major exhibition until the age of 56.

While reading this whole article, I kept thinking, "That's like me....that's like me....that's like me....I'm a late bloomer". Even my previous blog in which I describe my struggles as a 59-year-old artist fits the description. I've endeavored to hone my craft my whole life, still experiment with techniques, and am searching about what I want to say now. One more thing that Late Bloomers have in common is a "patron". By that he means, someone who is supportive, both financially and emotionally to the artist, someone who believes in them.

I can say here that I would not be where I am today without the support of my husband, David. Before we were married, he bought me a potter's wheel because I had taken a class and became enchanted with clay. Then he bought me a used electric kiln after we got married. Even though I have a degree in mathematics, he never told me I should be out working in a "real" job and has always told me how proud of me he is. I can also mention my mother who always said while I was getting my degree in math, "You should be taking art." I got an MFA when I was 29, indicating eventually I realized she was right.

So, I'll bet there are a lot of you who are also Late Bloomers. Just knowing there is a description of an "Old Master" that sounds like me is exciting. Struggle is all part of the process. But the most encouraging of all is ---- THE BEST IS YET TO COME.

19 comments:

Ronalyn said...

What a wonderful, inspiring post. It gives hope to those of us who are still searching for our voice and encourages me, even at the ripe old age of 68, to continue the journey.
Ronalyn0

Janice said...

Isn't it great when you read a book and it brings such insight and understanding to your path in life? Thanks for sharing - and yeah, in the end, moms always know best.

Hope to see you (and this gorgeous necklace) at Sunapee this year. You continue to knock our socks off!

simplyred said...

So good to read this happy, upbeat post from you. I understand your struggles completely even though I am no where near the point of calling myself an artist, I continue to aspire to do so. Your art is beautiful and a real inspiration

Ernie Hendrix
Gypsy Gold Studio

吳淑芬吳淑芬 said...

人生有些波折,才能有些成長,所以不論順逆,凡是成長、成功的助緣,都應該心存感激。..................................................

解恆蔡靜芳念 said...

好的開始並不代表會成功,壞的開始並不代表是失敗..................................................

puzzler said...

I'm enjoying your blog very much. Marie Davis, a polymer clay artist in Vermont, introduced me to your work and site and I'm grateful to her. Re: your thoughts on whether you are just creating "stuff" -- beauty and social justice together motivate, inspire and help us continue to bend the moral arc of the universe toward justice. You create beauty, and it speaks on a spiritual level - at least to me - how precious nature is to all and how precious it is for artists like you to mix human imagination and nature together to add beauty to life. Thank you.

群育航學 said...

才華在逆境中展現,在順境中被掩藏。............................................................

健林林豪 said...

所有的資產,在不被諒解時,都成了負債.................................................................

偉曹琬 said...

Judge not a book by its cover.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

jamaica byles said...

I also relate to the late bloomer persona.I love Galdwell...he writes provocatively yet based in fact.Great post-I think I need to read this book.
I love your work Kathleen.If you don't mind I would love to do a post about you on my blog, with full credit and link back of course.
You have a wonderful blog as well....keep blooming.

蕙陳春宗陳穎 said...

要保持更新呦,加油!!!期待你的新文章!!!............................................................

素郭青素郭青 said...

教育的目的,不在應該思考什麼,而是教吾人怎樣思考......................................................................

佳張張張張燕張張張張張 said...

時間就是塑造生命的材料。..................................................... ............

承王蓁 said...

很棒的分享~留言支持!............................................................

JacquieO said...

Hello all you Late Bloomers and kindred spirits. This 67 yr, old artist will try to give you the greatest form of complement, by experimenting with your techniques. Your work is pure genius. I hope someday to take one of your master courses. Will you be in Florida any time? Just a suggestion! MY wings are sprouting thanks to you Kathleen. THank you so much. Jacquie

Hugo said...

This is beautiful, I love the color and the forms.
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Michelle Monet said...

LOVE LATE BLOOMERS!! I am one tooo. :) I just turned 50. The BEST is yet to come!!

michelle

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