Friday, August 07, 2009

Ponder Pablo Picasso When Achievement Seems So Long in Coming

Picasso Principle
Sean D’Souza recently published this story that he calls the Picasso principle.

It caught my attention because I read it while living in Barcelona, where Picasso did much of his painting, and soon after visiting the Picasso Museum.

Sean writes:

There’s a story (true or false, I don’t know) about the famous artist, Pablo Picasso.

It seems a woman came up to him and asked him to sketch something on a piece of paper.

He sketched it, and gave it back to her saying: “That will cost you $10,000.”

She was astounded. “You took just five minutes to do the sketch,” she said. Isn’t $10,000 a lot for five minutes work?

“The sketch may have taken me five minutes, but the learning took me 30 years,” Picasso retorted.

Sean goes on to write about the long hard work that goes into becoming successful at your craft and how this needs to be reflected in calculating the value and cost of our services.

Postscript from Picasso Museum
The Picasso Museum in Barcelona is designed in stages from his early work to his last. It is a great gallery but a little disappointing that many of his well known paintings are not there as they are displayed in cities such as London, Paris New York and Madrid.

What intrigued me was Picasso's vast output. It took him years, thousands of sketches and drawings, much experimentation, efforts that are nothing to write home about and collaboration with other painters to produce the art work that he has become known for—those paintings that are worth millions.

This is worth remembering when excellence seems a long time coming.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at) on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: Nude Woman with Necklace ("Femme nue au collier") by Pablo Picasso, Tate Gallery, (1968).