Paint Does Not a Painter Make

Recently, scientists confirmed the type of paint Picasso preferred. He used this same paint to become one of the most famous painters in history and secure his place as the most influential painter in the modern era. What was the secret sauce? Common house paint!

Photo courtesy Futurilla, Creative Commons
Photo courtesy Futurilla, Creative Commons

The lesson here isn’t hard to spot. Picasso took something ordinary and created extraordinary art. The same stuff I have a hard time keeping off my trim graces the walls of the world’s finest art galleries and museums!

Picasso isn’t alone. Everyday items become powerful tools in the right hands. We can all use the ordinary to create extraordinary work by realizing:

  1. Starving Your Talent is a Mistake: Sometimes, we are too timid to dive into developing a talent. We’re comfortable in our jobs, we’re set in our routines. We starve our natural talents. Before you quit your job and become a “starving artist,” find a way to responsibly explore your natural talents.
  2. Even Limited Resources Are Resources: I am often tempted to dismiss projects before they have a chance. “We don’t have the resources,” I whine. If Picasso can paint masterpieces with common house paint, you can craft a marketing campaign with free outlets like social media and word of mouth.
  3. Your Greatest Resource is YOU: The “secret sauce” to great success is a driven individual or team making it happen. Whether you have the materials you need or the support you covet is immaterial. Whether you have a contagious passion is paramount to success! If you believe in your project, you can believe in yourself. Invest in developing your talents so that you can confidently drive a team to succeed.
  4. Even Great Resources Can’t Guarantee Great Results: My father hit a home run. He had found an eBay auction for an emerging web server/hosting company who was offering unlimited reseller rights to their services. They had great tech support and offered top-notch service. There were only two problems: they hadn’t set a reserve and their marketing was terrible. Consequently, Dad scored unlimited reseller rights for $30 per month. The earning potential is unlimited! …for someone who knows how to run the thing. His unlimited-everything jackpot is being used to park his domains. If you don’t have the know-how to use great resources, they don’t amount to much.
  5. We Choose Our Own Means: Art historians have long thought that Picasso might have used common house paints. He used “inferior” resources on purpose! Apparently, he was among the first to begin doing so, creating a flat appearance that didn’t show brushstrokes. Picasso knew how to use the paints he chose. You must use the resources that fit best with your own purpose and your own talents.

Whether you’re an artist or a data analyst, you can produce amazing results, even with basic resources. As you develop your talents and demonstrate your ability, others will recognize and invest in your efforts.

One Question for the Comments: What resource challenge have you overcome with a creative solution?

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6 thoughts on “Paint Does Not a Painter Make

  1. Justin, I love trivia and appreciate the factoid about Picasso — I didn’t know that. You have some great wisdom in your post. All the points are gems, but points 2 and 3 are particularly apt. We are our greatest resource, and we CAN begin today with what is at hand. If you invest those to add value to others, you will can parlay even the smallest resources into great achievements with time.

    1. You’re absolutely right, Dwayne. We must start where we are. A pastor of mine told me a long time ago that if you wait until everything is just right, you’ll never start or finish anything. My experience echoes hia wisdom.

  2. Justin, terrific example of taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary! All of us have the potential to find something like this and unearth a hidden talent.

    What you say here is incredibly wise: “Before you quit your job and become a “starving artist…” Too many people make a jump like that before they should.

    1. Thanks, Skip! I really admire those who are able to pursue a passion or even create a business opportunity while maintaining and performing well in their existing careers. It shows a maturity and dedication to those who depend on the entrepreneur rather than a desire to do something new or fresh.

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