Then, in fourth grade I started to play the violin. I was so good that by the end of the school year I was playing second chair next to the sixth graders. First chair was 6th grader Stephanie Buckley. Who is now an opera singer in New York City, seriously. She was WAY ahead of me in ability. But by the end of my sixth grade year I was still playing second chair. Why? I didn't practice. The girl in first chair had a private teacher and she practiced EVERY DAY. Practice? What's that? I always just floated on my natural ability. Which gets me pretty far but not far enough. So what did I do? I quit the violin.
Now why do I tell you this story? Well, I have been teaching art to kids and adults. Each age group feels like they stink and they can't do it. The biggest tantrum I get is from a very talented little 7 year old who wants to paint like Michelangelo and she can't. And my sweet 70 year old student wants to quit every 5 minutes. Everyone has yucky work. Even Casey Baugh told me that he has a room full of paintings lined up against the wall that will never see the light of day.
I asked James Christensen one time if he ever had a hard time parting with some of his most beautiful work. He said, "A lot of my stuff doesn't really turn out the way I planned so I am glad to get rid of it."
He also says you need to put in ten thousand hours before you are very good.
Talent can only get you so far. So, if you have been given a special talent, you better get to work!
p.s. If you know anyone (or yourself) who has a similar story, let me know!