Okay, I'm going to share with you my dirty little secret: I can't parallel park a car.
Well, I can parallel park a car as long as I've got three blank spaces, in a pinch two, and it helps that I drive a Honda Fit. But for the most part I'm willing to drive blocks out of the way and walk, or slip into a diagonal space, or let the Norwegian Artist drive when we're in the city and masterfully fit that hunk of metal (the car, not the Norwegian) into the allotted space.
In other words, I compensate for my lack of ability.
|Lots and lots of space — that's what I need when I parallel park.
Diaphanous by Steve Henderson of Steve Henderson Fine Art.
Ideally, I would learn how to parallel park, which is what our two youngest teenagers are doing with the Norwegian Artist this year before they take their licensing test, but that would mean hours of practicing with the Norwegian, and I'd really just rather spend the time knitting socks.
Because, compensating works.
It doesn't always, I know. If my problem involved driving skills, say, like the inability to make a right turn without banging into the curb, then I'd need to work on things, but if I can get by — as I have for 35 years — without parallel parking and I'm not hurting anybody and nobody's yelling at me, then I do, and focus my energy on difficult things that I need to learn and I can't compensate for.
So it is with learning how to paint. Some painting techniques you may never get — something to do with color or brushwork or the ability to draw hands so that they don't look like elephant feet — and you compensate, by never showing hands, for instance.
As long as this works, it works, and you develop your style by compensating around what you cannot do. The key is determining just how important the fine art painting technique you can't do is, and making a decision about it.