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Arleen Seed

A really long time ago when I was taking Physics at Columbia University in New York, my professor implored us to study Physics a little bit each day, even if just to read a section of the text or review some notes. He said we shouldn’t try to set aside 3 hours to ‘study Physics’ on Wednesday morning or carve out 2 hours on Friday afternoon, no, the better way was to commit to doing a minimum of 30 minutes every day. It would be impossible to pass the course, he said, if you merely attended the lectures, did the assignments, and showed up for the exam. You had to study Physics every day. That was the only way to make it stick.

It’s the same thing now at MC. In the Figure Drawing class, one of the requirements is to keep a daily sketchpad. The point is to draw in the pad every day. It’s hard to draw in the sketch pad every day. However, it is in fact tremendously useful to be in the habit of drawing all the time.

A great artist was once asked what was needed for inspiration. He said that inspiration came after five days of doing painter’s exercises. What he meant was that if one worked at developing one’s skills every day, then when needed, these skills would come in very handy.

Definitely this is true: when I make sure to draw, paint or sculpt every day, it becomes a habit and gets very familiar. When I need to render something, I have the skill to do it. When I need to mix the right color, it’s just a matter of combining a few things in the right proportions. And the ideas keep flowing, there seems to be something interesting around every turn. But if I don’t do art for even a few days, it becomes so much more difficult to just jump right in again.

It was the same in yoga class last semester at MC. Going to class was great, and there was momentum in that. But the professor encouraged us to develop a home practice if we really wanted to get anywhere. In order for a home practice to stick, though, it has to becomes a part of your lifestyle, every day.

And so maybe that’s the key: do something over and over again so frequently that it becomes automatic, and then it’s something in your ‘toolbox’ which you have available to use whenever you need it. It becomes a habit. It becomes a part of you.  And something which you do every day.

Arleen Seed

Arleen Seed

Hi! My name is Arleen Cannata Seed and I’m studying Fine Arts here at Montgomery College in Takoma Park/Silver Spring. Originally from New York City, I studied Art as an undergraduate years ago, but chose to spend my career in a totally different field, working for the United Nations and traveling all over the world bringing technological solutions to global problems.

Once I retired, I had the time and mental space to practice Art again, but I knew I had forgotten the fundamentals. So, I enrolled in 100 level courses in drawing, painting, and sculpture at MC. This was just the catalyst I needed! The professors at MC, in both the Community Arts and the regular credit courses, provided a course of study and opened my eyes to the different ways in which Art is taught in the 21st Century.

This blog is about my journey, my transition from working adult to pursuing an earlier dream, and I’m hoping this story resonates with young people thinking about their career choices and older people yearning to rekindle pursuits which have always interested them.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. One of my English professors always said that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master anything, that little bit every day will add up quickly.

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