"Greatness Is Determined by Service"

29 Oct 2012

I hesitate to admit that some of my education these days is derived from Facebook, thanks to those seemingly endless placards with quotes that people are always posting: "I think it's weird how some days I feel skinny and some days I feel like a busted can of biscuits." While this is cute, be assured that it's not what I'm talking about today. I just tossed it in to add a smile to your morning.

This is more like it: "Everyone has the power for greatness, not for fame but greatness, because greatness is determined by service." I don't know if Martin Luther King really said this or not, but his image is behind the quote, and it sounds like something he would say.

Whether or not anyone ever saw it or recognized it, the Grand Canyon would always be a place of greatness and awe. Many Hued, signed limited edition print by Steve Henderson.
Whether or not anyone ever saw it or recognized it, the Grand Canyon would always be a place of
greatness and awe. Many Hued, signed limited edition print by Steve Henderson.

If you have made any study of art history, you have no doubt been stopped cold by an oil painting artist or watercolor painter or draftsman whom you have never heard of before but whose images haunt you with their deft skill and deep wrenching emotion. Sometimes, when you read further, you find out that this artist was never recognized in his lifetime, isn't really recognized now, but is considered in certain circles to be truly, truly great, but unfortunately undiscovered.

As King observes, there is a difference between greatness and fame, and sometimes the two do not go together. Other times, quite unfairly—but as our mothers always told us, "life isn't fair"—fame accompanies a lack of greatness. Ideally, the two mesh, but while the fame part is largely out of our individual control, the greatness part is not.

You can be a great artist. It will take time to develop your fine art painting skills, practice, determination, and humility, because a major part of improving in our oil painting art is recognizing our need to improve. Intriguingly, the very attributes that contribute toward your greatness as an artist also benefit you as an individual human being, with the result being that you attain greatness, whether or not you achieve fame.

--Carolyn


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