Art Studio and Life #46 featuring art and artworks

Hello lovely family and friends

Happy post-Valentines day! I hope it was a happy day for y’all?

I was having a delightful online chat with one of my long-term besties, and she said something interesting that got me thinking (well, of course, she actually said many interesting things, but only I’m telling you about one of them).

As we were chatting, an electrician was downstairs relocating an aircon (Africa) / heatpump (NZ) and we got talking about how well-paid electricians and plumbers are in the first world (an arm and a leg), as opposed to the pittance they get I the third world. (Is there a Second world? And how well paid are the tradies there?) We were lamenting our lack of chargeable skills when she said ‘It’s because I’m not interested in plumbing. If I was interested, I’d research all about it, and I would learn it and nail it.’ And she would.

But she also convicted me. There are things that I find hard, such as remembering the date, and I think, “Oh well, I’m just not very good at that, so I won’t try.” Perhaps it would be more accurate to tell myself “I just don’t care enough about that to try.” Ouch.

Of course, I know that are many skills that we can master just because we are interested in them, but others that we might never manage, given our own personal limitations. Sad fact: if you adore ballet, go for lessons, practice for years, dedicate your every waking moment to it, but are blessed with the proverbial carthorse build, you ain’t gonna be dancing in Swan Lake, no matter how hard you try.

Sometimes people look at my art and say “Oh, you are so talented, I could never do that,” and I tend to reply, “It’s hard work, not talent.”

You could actually do it.

You just might not be obsessive enough to work at teaching yourself, or determined enough to get trained. Just like I’m not obsessive enough to become a Master chef or a plumber.

Imagine a village of non-swimming people suddenly moved to live near a lake. All the kids would paddle in the water, and a few would go too deep, get a fright, flounder to the side and henceforth stay in the shallows. But there would be those two or three kids fascinated by the water, who would flail around enough that they could figure out how to dog paddle, and then, maybe, get a decent swimming stroke going. The other kids might say “They are so talented, I could never do that.” Then, a swimming teacher comes to live at the village, and he starts to teach the kids how to swim “Lie in the shallows, head back, push your tummy up etc.” Before long, most of the kids would be swimming. Training makes a big difference.

It’s true that in order to get a Michael Phelps, you need both obsession and size 14 feet, but I do think that good art is more achievable for the average person. I have been awestruck by a couple of quadriplegic artists who draw amazingly holding a pencil in their mouth. That is obsession right there, because I don’t think their mouths started off any more talented than yours or mine.

And, yes, I am obsessed with art. I have been most of my life. When I have a bit of free time, I enjoy watching people paint on YouTube, because there is always more to learn. I skip on right past all those fun plumbing tutorials.

My husband likes to quote:

“The system you have got is perfectly designed to produce the results you are getting.”

That explains a lot. This is why I can paint a penguin, but not fix a tap.

Oh well.

We have been rearranging our house, and our study has become a bedroom, so I’m writing this to you from our new office, which is in a cupboard in our bedroom. (I also like to watch tiny home/ ergonomic design tutorials).

So, this week, may you enjoy eating your remaining Valentine chocolate/liquorice/biltong! (And it you don’t have any, perhaps you better pop to the Dairy to get some.) May you watch an obsessional tutorial to up your skills! And may you experience joy as you do it!

XX Barbie


  1. Jenny

    Thanks Barbie! Food for thought, and as always- love the memes. I think I’m getting addicted to your blog!!

    • Barbara Podmore

      Thanks Jenny! Laughter and thought are the way forward. Sometimes I think perhaps I should stop blogging, since it’s quite time consuming, but then I write one, make a meme or two and cheer myself up.