“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times” – Bruce Lee
“The ‘big picture’ without the little details is a blurry picture” – Steve Jobs
Lots of Practice = Lots of Details
I’m always reading about things variously referred to as ‘perfect practice’ or ‘deliberate practice.’ These are various studies and discipline to help me hone my craft and expertise in a particular area. I am in the process at getting really, really good at certain things that contribute to the quality of my artwork. This includes materials, using tools, my understanding of design and color … even marketing my work for that matter. One of the natural consequences of this is the ability to fine tune my artwork. In many cases, at a level I was not only incapable of but didn’t even SEE. I think it’s a process of working through the macro, getting the ‘big rocks’ to fit. This includes not having the materials fail because they were used improperly, getting pieces to fit together in the real world that were perfectly compatible in your mind, learning how long it takes for things to dry or cool down. And much much more.
Application of Detail
Once you get the first of anything done – and it sort of ‘works’ – then you do the second one and change just about everything. Sooner or later, what was once wild inspiration and raw creativity becomes a highly refined craft. This is where the attention to details comes in. I will spend an extra 10-20% of the time it takes to make a piece adjusting, fixing, re-doing refinements that just dont suit me, are not the way I’d like. Funny thing is, most of these “undesirable” details would never be noticed by anyone else besides another artist or craftsperson who is trained in a similar discipline. But I know they are there. This is the same reason Steve Jobs insisted that the circuit boards INSIDE the Mac would be, of an unto themselves, works of art.
Seeing the Details
One of the things I often tell people about my art is to “keep looking, you’re missing something.” This applies to the art itself in terms of design (shapes, textures, colors), how the light plays off the artwork – reflections in the glass or steel or how the shadow of the piece will project on a wall, etc. It also very much applies to the little details that create the ‘big picture’ of a nice piece of art.
Keep looking, you’re missing something.