The process of making art is so much about the figuring it out. We paint to teach ourselves how to paint. If we knew with exacting precision exactly how to get a piece of art to turn out, we wouldn’t need to make it. The struggle and the joy of an artist is in the process. Our souls are captured, moved, and we use the language that we call art to express what has touched our hearts.
This past week, I was on the tortured side of things: working with a living master, the great Henry Yan. His work seemed so effortless. But when I asked him how many years of study it took him before he felt confident about the work he was doing, his answer was five years. Five years of committed, intense study. There it is again: You have got to log the hours, put in the time, the more time you put in, the more concentrated your efforts, the quicker you will get better.
It seems the lessons I learn in art and in life are consistent: I keep learning them. No short cuts — just practice and practice well. How do you practice well? Studying with those who have logged more hours than you. The fine art of mentoring. Whatever it is you want, you have to begin by committing to practice and study. So my own commitment to always remain open and to always learn remain.
I’m sharing the works of Henry Yan with you in the photos here, because they are so beautiful. It’s truly amazing. Enjoy!