WCL5
© Alma Hoffmann, 2016
© Alma Hoffmann, 2016.
This is a fragment of one of the pieces that will be on the show tomorrow night.

Hello reader!


Before you go on reading, I am sorry to say that I don't have a wallpaper this week. I know, I am sorry! It has been a busy one! The photo above is from one of pieces at my show tomorrow night.

How has your week been? What did you learn this week? I have been thinking about practice, progress, and perfection or, as my friend Alex, from Australia likes to say, mastery. I want to focus on these three words: practice, progress, and mastery.

It is a well established fact that to get better at something, you have to practice. One does not simply go from beginnner to master in a blink of an eye— unless one is a prodigy. There is a period of progression, or rather, several periods of progression, peaks, and valleys. There are periods where we have those aha! moments that are special and those moments where we seem to be stuck or where progress comes down to minimal tweaks or changes.

When I started to practice lettering deliberately, I would repeat letters or words over and over. However, I quickly realized that it was possible to be practicing things the wrong way or using the wrong technique. Then, one would develop muscle memory doing that one stroke, hand or arm movement with the wrong technique that in the long run would be counter productive. I staretd to observe how the artists I admired held the pen, how they did certain strokes, how they positioned the paper, where and when they took their pauses, and finally how they created a composition.

When I was a dancer, I learned a valuable lesson. I took a class with an international dance champion. As soon as I started dancing, he pointed out my mistakes. I had been making these mistakes without knowing it. In the process of wanting to do a step well, I made progress in my practice by compensating for missing the beat or something like that. He had me repeat the steps over and over and every time I defaulted, he called me on it.

The point I am trying to make is this: practice is not enough. One can be practicing mistakes and be progressing at getting better, but at those mistakes. To master a skill, one has to observe, practice, reflect on that practice, observe again, find someone to help you see what you are not seeing, and let yourself be taught.

There is a lot of discussion on social media about progress not perfection. It is repeated over and over. And while I agree that perhaps perfection is not attainable, at least not completely, what exactly are we progressing to if we do not have a standard, a mark, a model?

I never thought I would end up having lettering pieces to exhibit in a show. I did not start to practice lettering thinking I would have shows. I wanted to create beautiful lettering and get lost in it. These pieces in the show represent the accumulation of two years of deliberate practice. Two years of reflecting on that practice, taking one on one classes with those I admire, consuming knowledge from books on the subject, and yes, comparing what I do with the work of those who are better. Because unless I have that standard, I am going nowhere. I am proud of the work I have created, yes. I am more proud however, of the discipline that took me where the work is today. I have made progress at getting better. I have learned lessons along the way. Mastery of lettering continues to be my goal and the progress is my journey. Right now, I am thinking about my next series, what will they be about, and in the many ways they will challenge me.


What do you want to get better at? What do you need to reflect on? What do you need to be called on? How can I help you get better at something? Share with me! I will answer your email!

And don't forget!!
The show! It is here!
Don't forget to join me during the artist's reception! Here are the details:
When: Friday August 11, 2017
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Where: Optera Creative
5 North Jackson Street
Mobile, AL 36602
Tel. 251.287.0958

Here are pictures of half of the pieces that you will see tomorrow. They are all for sale. Optera does not handle any payment. If you want to purchase something, you have to buy it directly from me. I wlll have my little device to take credit cards. But you can also pay cash or check.

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I hope to see you tomorrow night! As usual, you can find me on the places below and visit my new store!!
And with that, I wish you a great weekend and a fabulous week ahead! Until then my friends!
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