So one of my friends (you know who you are) asked me about the image I was using as a header. It was a blue painting, done by my youngest brother Michael. The current header picture – those fabulous brown swirls – is another one of his. I pulled both images off of his website – mikelanni.com – where he’s got pictures up of some of his current projects.
As you might know if you read my first post, my middle brother William got this blog started for me. He, too, is an artist, although his visual work is all of the digital variety – he’s a website designer. In fact he’s 1/3 of Red Card Studios, the web design firm he founded with a couple of his friends. He also plays bass and guitar, composes and sings in a couple of bands – Stay Tuned and Altin Jimbiz.
And I’m a writer, working on a bunch of short stories that I plan to publish in a collection, a set of fantasy novellas that will be bound together into a novel, and occasionally I knock out a chapter or two of a science fiction novel.
Wow, you’re thinking. That’s quite a talented family. Michael’s got a great singing voice, for instance, and I played guitar. I’ve painted, too, and both of my brothers have put pen to paper and written – fairly well, too. Art, music, literature – those Lanni brothers are an artistic bunch! Perhaps, but I haven’t shown you the whole picture yet.
Michael has a double masters – Business and Psychology. Will makes his living programming – Java, Flash, and HTML for web content. I’m a Linux Systems Administrator. (For those not geeky enough to know what that is, it means I fix computers that use a special operating system – not Win-doze or Mac.)
So we’re not just artistic. We’ve all got a strong scientific bent to us, as well. That comes at a surprise to some, as in our culture we’ve all been told that people are either ‘Right-Brained’ or ‘Left-Brained’ – either intuitive or logical, either artistic or scientific. I can see where that might come from; we definitely get the artistic bent from our mother, who was a teacher, and the scientific ability from our father, who is an engineer. But where I call B.S. is the idea that people are only good at one thing.
To me it appears to be a matter of interest. If you’re interested in art and not in math, then you will spend hours scratching out images of hundreds of figures, plucking at piano keys, or getting lost in the pages of a good book. On the other hand, those who love the sciences spend equal amounts of time poring over complex proofs, peering into microscopes or telescopes, or calculating the precise trajectory of a moving object.
There are plenty of places where the two intersect. So few people realize that Einstein was a tremendous violinist. People don’t think about the use of perspective in painting, which is pure geometry. The musical scale is all mathematics. Tom Lehrer, for instance, was a musical comedic genius who was also a math professor. J.R.R. Tolkien was a linguistics professor, and wrote “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit”. The list goes on and on.
I’m convinced that if you can foster an interest in something, you can get good at it. You just have to get your hands dirty. Dabble in stuff you’re not at all interested in – take a class at the local community college, for instance, or hang out with people you know that do stuff you’d never think to do on your own. Dig in, get hip deep in it, and see if you like it – and if you do, go for it.
You never know what you might find out you’re good at.