Whilst looking at Lincoln’s blog, I came across this incredible post via his blogroll (Lincoln has plenty of incredible posts of his own, but we’ll save that for another time).  It was this wonderful story in particular that grabbed my attention:

A defining moment in Michael Parkinson’s career came during his TV interview with Pablo Picasso shortly before his death in 1973. Recognising the great painter’s age Parkinson took the opportunity to commission his own original drawing live on air. Picasso accepted and took two minutes to sketch Parkinson’s portrait as the interview continued. Parkinson was thrilled. It was an excellent sketch

“Out of interest,” asked Parkinson, “How much would this sketch sell for?”

Picasso replied with a rye smile, “Around six thousands pounds,”

“Six thousand pounds! How can something so quick be worth so much?”

The audience was shocked by Parkinson’s somewhat out of character affront but Picasso, easing back into his armchair, was completely unfazed.

“Michael, this drawing did not take me two minutes,” he said. “I’ve been working on it for over eighty years.”

I have an artistic streak in me, but I’m under no illusions that I’ll ever be a Picasso, or a Tracy Emin, or which ever artist floats your particular boat.  That said, I must also recognise that I’ll never be any kind of artist at all unless I put in the time, do the hard graft.  When I was at art college we were told to do a drawing every day outwith the requirements of our course, to practice our drawing (and our looking) skills.  Shouldn’t be hard, you’re probably thinking, isn’t that what you’re supposed to do at art college?  Funnily enough it was surprisingly difficult, because it required discipline and commitment beyond what was already expected of us.  It was hard to carve out a space to sit and observe and then draw, when so much of the day was filled up with projects and deadlines and subjects to research.

I never did manage to do a drawing a day but I’m thinking about trying to do that again, now my life is less centred around art as a way of being.  I’ve got lots of beautiful but empty sketch books waiting to be filled.  And who am I to argue with Picasso?

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