Remember when I told you that a friend of mine has a daughter who mastered her skill of drawing ponies over the course of two years? As things in life seem to line up and align with things that are meant to find you, I happened to be reading further in my Robin Sharma book (The Everyday Hero Manifesto), and lo and behold, I came across a section on the 10,000 hour rule, developed by Anders Ericsson, ‘One needs to invest approximately 10,000 hours of conditioning before the first signs of world class performance begin to present themselves.’
In his book, Robin Sharma gives an example of someone he encountered, who had been to his one thousandth workout class, but appeared to not have improved. He noted his reflection that it isn’t merely about the time invested, but the intention or attention to improve your skill. He goes on to explain that Ericsson pioneered the term ‘deliberate practice,’ and that merely training does not necessarily lead to mastery.
I reflect on Amelia’s ponies, and how the focus on this one animal not only saw improvement and mastery in drawing this animal in many styles and form, but her skill also crossed over to her improvement in all of her drawing. She had practiced styles, angles, shading, and detail so much on this one animal that she could apply this to other subjects.
I was taking inventory of my watercolour paper and realized I had this giant pad of paper that I had tucked neatly against the wall of my closet. It isn’t the best quality paper and I don’t normally work on larger sheets. I had been unsure what to paint on this paper and figured I would have it as back up and cut it down to size. Inspired by the learning on the intentional practice, I had an idea when I was looking at this pad of paper. I would devote a full page to one subject of study. Fill the page of it. Use it as a painting sketchbook with no concern of how the finish product turns out. The first page would be Floral. See my Reels on Instagram for how this page turned out 😃. I have started a Fish page and a Tree page, and will keep adding to this with additional subjects until each page is filled. I will Just use it for practice and not be held back by messing up my ‘good paper.’
Having a plan for my ‘deliberate practice’ is an exciting step for me. As long as I can see some gradual improvement and find ease of presenting a subject, then I know I will be making some progress.