This past Sunday, I stood in an art gallery admiring a variety of different pieces. They were assembled as an exhibit of "Illuminated Sculpture." Through the opening night crowd, I saw things that glowed or shone in unique ways. Some were items that were lit from within. Others were simply displays of light. I mingled briefly, until I found my brother, the artist.
He was there to show his work, to answer questions, and to bask in the glow that came from his sculpture and the glow that surrounded him. He has been working at this art thing for quite some time, and this was his first gallery show. He has exhibited his paintings and sculpture in less formal settings. He done work on commission, and he has sold a few more. I am pleased to have an eclectic selection of his oeuvre. I like to think that walking through my house, you can trace his evolution as an artist. I like to think that because it makes me happy to have a brother who has done so much to fill our blank walls and it makes me sound like a curator instead of just the proud brother of an artist.
But there I was, standing in that gallery, feeling that he had arrived. After years of refining his vision and his skills, he stood among the crowd eating cheese cubes on frilly toothpicks and sipping wine as they nodded and murmured while they looked at his piece. I started to babble to him about a book that I was reading called "The Outliers," by Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell suggests that there is, in fact, a formula for success. He maintains Dr. Daniel Levitin's theory that "ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert — in anything." I told this to my little brother, and he smiled and looked around the room. "I think I'm at about," he paused for effect, "five thousand." From out here, his path seems a little meandering, but I know that inside he knows. I'm looking forward to the next five thousand.