Are artistic passion and talent separate?

I’ve been artsy since forever. But recently I started painting more seriously. In my case that’s a euphemism for: I now have money to buy a decent quantity of supplies and  time to use them. The photo above is one of my paintings. It gets complements. “Thanks,” I answer, “but really, I have no talent. I just enjoy doing it.”

“You can’t have one without the other. If you enjoy it, then you must have some talent.”

What? Whoa! Cue the sound of screeching brakes here. If you enjoy an artistic pursuit, you must have talent? I had to think about that. Does one automatically include the other? Does the creative act (painting, dancing, playing the piano) automatically signify some talent, however nascent? In other words, does having an interest, a desire, a yearning indicate talent wanting to express itself?

Does talent bequeath passion?

If talent bequeaths passion, then the two are linked. Could that explain why we are inevitably drawn to a creative pursuit? Will the talent inevitably push us to express it? For instance, I’ve always wondered about the child prodigy who grows up in an environment where no one does anything art related. Does he or she inevitably gravitate towards their interest? Like a scene in a movie where they see a violin in a store window and know they must have it at all costs. No one in my family paints, or writes for that matter. Regardless, I’ve put an inordinate amount of time into writing stories.  Like this one that became a novel. I love the process. I’d write even if no one ever read another word.

Is there a measure of talent?

closed_doors_coverCan you measure talent in quantity? As in ‘very talented’. Maybe the only measure is the intensity. But is that directly related to a measure of quantity? As in: if you are very talented you are very intense about it. Do you write or paint or compose when you can, or are you staying up all night toiling away and calling in sick to work?  (Never done that, by the way.) Does one have anything to do with the other, at all? Some say the only difference is practice. But wouldn’t you practice more if you are passionate about it, and if you are passionate about it it’s because you have talent? So it goes in a circle, and the talented become better.

Unexpectedly, I am left with many questions and few answers, making this another chapter in The Confusion Chronicles.

Photo: the author. Book cover design: