Can Anyone Be a Painter?

Rachel asked: Do you think anyone can be a painter if they work hard enough or is it a talent you must have in order to be great?

This is actually a pretty tough question to answer, because language gets in the way. (Have I mentioned that in addition to being an artist and a geek, I was also an English major and have an obsession with linguistics and language? There you go: another random fact about Kelly.)

So let’s break it down. Can anyone be a painter? Sure. If you have a desire and a passion to create things with paint, you can be a painter. Do you need talent to be great? The short answer would be no. But this is where things get a little sticky. What does it mean to be “great”? And who decides?

Are you great if your work is hanging in a museum? Come on! Have you seen some of schlock in museums?

Are you great if you make lots of money? Ditto the above statement.

Are you great if the critics love your work? Ditto.

Are you great if lots and lots of people love your work? Ah, we might be getting somewhere with this one.

Or are you great if people remember you and your work long after you’re dead? Maybe, but what good does it do a dead person to be “great”?

Come to think of it, the long answer is also no. Talent is nice to have, but you can probably be great without it. But passion… well, without that, you’ve got nothing.