Mundane excellence


We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

~ Aristotle

When discussing different materials, I try to keep in mind the end goal for the project. eg: if you’re just playing with art supplies – do what you want and have fun! However, if you’re looking to sell a piece and want it to last for at least a century, follow the material manufacturer’s directions to help make the finished piece last.

With that caveat, if you want to create excellent work – focus on the basics. I recently read a quote from Daniel Chambliss, “Excellence is mundane. Superlative performance is really a confluence of dozens of small skills or activities, each one learned or stumbled upon, which have been carefully drilled into habit and then are fitted together in a synthesized whole. There is nothing extraordinary or superhuman in any one of those actions; only the fact that they are done consistently and correctly, and all together, produce excellence.

  • This week’s artist is – Luis Martins – who seemed appropriate to share after announcing our new spray paints last week! For even more, check out his facebook and instagram!

If you’re trying to excel in your creative pursuits, focus on the fundamentals. Master color mixing, or tight stitching, or word weaving. Once those foundations are in place, you can fit the pieces together in different ways.

When you automatically mix colors and don’t have to think about it any longer, you can focus more on creating the image you see in your mind. Likewise, when you know the human form and can accurately represent it, you don’t have to think about the process but can focus on the details.

Drilling the basics to build the muscle memory can be down right mundane. But each of those seeming small tasks combine together to make something greater than the sum of the steps. The little things really do count.

Whether you’re creating for fun, just playing with materials or colors, or making something to last for centuries – the world needs your art!

Matthew & the Art Supply House crew