The Myth of Talent



Caught in the ice

I am a big fan of a photography site called The Mindful Eye, written by Craig Tanner. I find Tanner to be remarkable in his attention to developing his reader’s creativity. He makes thoughtful and enlightening observations on images sent by photographers at all levels.

I recently came across an essay Tanner wrote called “The Myth of Talent.” He believes that talent is not a birthright but rather the result of  “… long term focused practice powered by passion and love of the process.” I have often been inspired by his ideas and specific assignments designed to “create space for artistic growth.” I have also often questioned whether or not I am a creative person or a just a good re-creator (see “What Does It Mean to Be Creative?”). Tanner’s essay finally gave me the courage I need to share some of my abstract photographs collected over the past couple of years.

Decaying tree

Since one of Tanner’s seven ways to “Create Your Own Space for Artistic Growth” is to “create goals and share them with the universe,” here is my first one.  You will begin to play more with the idea of photographic abstraction and share some of the resulting images with others without fear of negative reaction.

Now, I am a child of the 1950’s, an age of convention where all my teenage girl friends and I wore the same outfit: matching skirt and sweater (preferably cashmere), a small matching scarf, and bobby socks. The colors changed but nothing much else. Years later, when I started to explore the world of photography, I took images of the world I assumed everyone saw. Didn’t everyone see the same thing?


But along the way, I began to be pulled by another world of images, those that I could create in my imagination that no one else could see. I had a lot of fun playing with small camera movement, defocusing the subject, taking images out of their context, looking for reflections, and enlarging an image to the point of distortion. And now I’m sharing some of the results. As Craig Tanner suggested, I’ve done it for “love of the process.” (Gerri)



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WV Highlands Artisan Gallery Jury Process

As promised in a previous post this is one of several articles on having your art work juried into a gallery.   I have had the pleasure of being accepted into some of Tucker Counties finest art galleries.  Each location has its own process.  I encourage you to take your art and get it out there into the galleries.  The experience is exhilarating.

Today I’ll discuss my experience with WW Artisan Gallery in Davis, WV.  The first step for me was to confront my fear of rejection.  Every negative thought that my imagination could muster up reared its ugly head and did its best to discourage me.  But, being the stubborn, errr determined person that I am, I confronted my fears head on. 

Okay, so step one was checked off my list – squash the fear monster – done

The next step was to download and complete the forms that WV Highlands Artisans Gallery provided – done

Write the small processing check – done

Take excellent pictures of the pieces that were being submitted for the jury process.  Yikes!  I’m not a photographer.  Well there are a few ways to get this accomplished.  The smart way would be to find a professional to take the photographs.  In my house that means finding the money to pay the photographer.  Okay, that’s an option, but I don’t like sharing my money.  It’s better spent on art supplies.  So what was my other option?  Take them myself.  I refer you to the earlier sentence “I’m not a photographer.”  So this is how I managed to get my pictures.  I took dozens of pictures.  Yes, dozens, because, I have more time than money.  I then uploaded the pictures onto my computer, went into the photo editing software and proceeded to learn the software.  Then I looked at the dozens of edited photos and began the process of deleting, deleting, and deleting.  Finally, I was left with pictures that I was happy with.  I should warn you that during this step there was a lot of frustration and cartoon language symbols forming around my head for the “expressive thoughts” I was experiencing.    So whatever path you take, get good pictures of your work.  (Hiring someone might be easier than my chosen path.) – done

Put everything in an envelope and mail it. – done

To my delight I received a notice that I had been accepted for the second phase of the jury process.  Yes, there is another step.  Now I was invited to meet the jurors in person and bring my physical work to show them.

I collected all the pieces I wanted to submit in person.  These did not need to be the same as those in the earlier photographs.  Then I drove up Wild Maggie on Rt. #19.  Of course I managed to time my drive so I would behind a series of tractor trailers. The 30 minute drive at 55 MPH became 50 minutes at 30 MPH.  Some people would call this karma, others might say I somehow created it out of that fear of rejection issue I have.  Never the less, I made it.

Once inside the gallery I met with three lovely ladies.  There was an informal question and answer session where I was asked to describe my process and materials.  I was asked how I anneal my wire and I blanked out.  What’s annealing?  DAH!  It’s the process for changing the wire temper.  How could I blank that out?  How inexperienced did I sound?

I was asked to step outside for about five minutes while they discussed me and my work.  When I returned I was delighted to find out that I had been accepted.  They provided me with the details of the gallery and the rules and regulations that they required and asked if I agreed.  I then signed the document of agreement to their terms.  Happy dance!

I drove home, down Wild Maggie with a smile on my face and magically not a truck in sight!  Go figure!

I hope that you will take a moment to let our readers know about your experience(s) with the jury process.  Everyone’s experience is of value to all the artist and artisans who read our blog. 

Thank you for reading.  Please visit our blog again soon.  ~ Linda

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Take Some Time To Make Blissful Stuff

It doesn’t need to be perfect.  It doesn’t need to be for someone else.  The stuff you make brings a moment of bliss to the here and now.  What do you make?  What is your bliss?

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ArtSpring in Tucker County, May 28-29

Hope to see you at ArtSpring this weekend. Here are all the details. Check out what’s going on in all the galleries. Art, music, food, and fun for everyone. Great opportunity to acquire art and other things at the Silent Auction on Sunday afternoon, plus a chance to see inside the Cottrill Opera House in Thomas for the first time in decades.

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Freebies for everyone

Tight budget? Can’t afford to come see a band more than once every month or two?

Not true anymore. With free shows every week at the Purple Fiddle this just is not a viable excuse anymore. Just this past week we had an amazing young band from Austin Texas play here for free – Uncle Lucius. They were extremely talented, and had a new eclectic sound, blending a 70’s soul vibe with a more updated country-rock feel (for those familiar with the Fiddle lineup – think Hoots and Hellmouth meets Yarn). Very interesting blend. They definitely have a very bright future, and we will have them back as soon as they can return, but don’t expect them to be free the next time because they deserve more.

So if you want to be the first to see a fascinating new band, and want it to fit your tight budget, then search the Fiddle calendar for  free shows ( And please keep in mind, that “free” does not mean “untalented” by any stretch of the imagination. But given the economy, more and more bands are just happy to gather a larger, more enthusiastic audience, and forgo being paid well the first time in order to collect a few new local fans. Of course, tips are always encouraged because these bands do have a nasty gasoline habit to pay for. But that is entirely your call.

And of course, as always, EVERY saturday and Sunday afternoon there is a free lunchtime performance at 1 pm, usually filled with talented solo artists touring across the  states.

So come on out. The bands would love to see you. And check the schedule often, because updates and additions are made weekly! Like this great band (below) – the Giving Tree Band – just added today!

The Giving Tree Band, from Chicago, play a FREE Show, Sunday June 5!

Free shows (weekend afternoons not included) to check out:

Thur June 2 @ @ 8:30 pm The Bloodroots Barter FREE SHOW!

Sun June 5 @ 8:30 pm the Giving Tree Band FREE Show! (Think Avett Brothers!)

Mon June 20 @ 8:30 pm Bethesda FREE SHOW!

Tues June 21 @ 8:30 pm Outside the Box FREE SHOW! (rock ‘n roll)

Mon June 27 @ 8:30 pm Chris Cernak FREE SHOW!

Tues June 28 @ 8:30 pm Butch Morgan FREE SHOW!

Wed July 13 @ 8:30 pm Darling Waste FREE Show!

Sat July 16 @ 11:30 pm Chatham Street FREE Late Show!

Sat July 23 @ 11:30 pm Star FK Radium FREE Late Show!

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The Road Most Juried

Yesterday, I had my tent and traveling shop at a local open air market.  I enjoyed the entire day surrounded by cheerful people.  Maybe it was the beautiful sunny day with the breeze coming off the nearby mountain and the freedom that this spring weather and atmosphere gives us when the snow has been packed away for another year.  Here I met a lot of new artisan friends.  In my conversations I mentioned our ‘Create Tucker’ blog and that I was in the process of drafting a new post about the jury process.   During one conversation, someone asked me ‘what does that (jury) mean?’ 

Piggy Bank by Ben Nelson, Potter, Thomas, WV

It lead me to think that this mysterious process may be keeping  some artisans and artist from approaching a new venue that very well may be a new profitable business relationship.  In my experience some of the fairs, shops and galleries may discuss the jury process in a way that seems scarier than it really is.  So let’s take the mystery out of the jury process and find new places to sell our artistic creations and put cash in our piggy banks.

Some galleries, shows and fairs have a formal process to evaluate fine art and handcrafted art prior to being accepted into their venue.  Typically this jury process is overseen by a small panel of judges.  They usually have personal experience with hand crafted and fine art.  They may be an owner, manager or member of the venue.  Their job is to evaluate the quality and skill of the art pieces that will be accepted and sold.   They keep a balance of mediums being shown in order to avoid redundancy of a style of work.   Each venue will have their own set of guidelines for what they are looking for in order to accept art.  They also take into consideration what their customer base has come to expect and purchase.

Submitting your art for the jury process may seem daunting.  However, being accepted by a jury panel makes you part of their team, part of the business.  Being part of a team adds strength to your vision.

The readers of our blog would enjoy and benefit by reading about your experiences with the jury process.  We encourage your comments.

In my next post I will write about my personal experiences with several local venues, including Mountain Made Gallery, Heritage House at the Depot and WV Highland Artist & Artisan Gallery.

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If You Weren’t There You Missed It . . .

This gallery contains 2 photos.

. . . but you can read all about it in this week’s Parsons Advocate (May 4, 2011). The STArt 2011 Student Art Show and Reception at the Davis Community Center on Sunday, May 1, featured 130 art works by … Continue reading

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