Landscape painter Rick J. Delanty
Landscape painter Rick J. Delanty

A common thing we hear people say when they meet an artist is, “I’m not talented enough to paint.” Here, landscape painter Rick J. Delanty addresses this misconception.

“Talent” should not be a word. No one has a natural aptitude to do anything at birth. Excellence is only achieved through consistent and focused practice, and through all kinds of dedicated effort.

We may be born with a natural passion to do this or that, but passion comes first, followed by self-discovery through practice. No great painting has been done without an artist’s passion for doing it, plus a lifetime of hard work in learning how to make a painting that works.

A more appropriate way to look at whether one should paint would be, “Do I really want to paint—that is, to put in the work and the reflection that will optimize my skills as an artist?”

Passion cannot be given, but excellence can be earned. After fifty years of creating art, this is what has produced more effective results in my own painting:

A. Commit to self-improvement—over time, and at every opportunity.

B. Create a regular, scheduled time each week for painting, developing skills, and technique.

C. Read constantly about art-making, and study artworks and the principles of design and composition.

D. Be generous in buying and applying paint—wear down brushes in attacking multiple canvases. Buy a lot of surfaces to paint on.

E. Know that “style” will be achieved organically, through consistent work—you will not have to strive to create a personal voice.

F. Seek out a professional mentor, who knows, who encourages, who will speak honestly regarding strengths and weaknesses, and where to go next.

G. Realize today that it’s never too late to start—in fact, I would suggest starting NOW!

In the gym where I work out, there are three signs with messages about how to achieve what you dream. I think they represent good advice for fitness, for painting, and for life:

“Find your inspiration”

“Believe in yourself”

“Conquer your goals”

Let’s paint!

Connect with Rick J. Delanty at

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