November 7, 2012 by Nancy Noonan

In August of 1949, Jackson Pollock was profiled in Life magazine as possibly “the greatest living painter in the United States.” This definitively helped cement Pollock’s reputation, but the truth was, he was actually nervous about this success. He was always afraid that he would be “found out,” as he was not very skilled or educated in classical painting techniques, especially drawing. Studies, by the way, have since shown this is the very same fear many executives admit to having: that they are only at the top temporarily, until their inadequacies are “found out.”

Interestingly, however, Pollock’s own weakness in the more traditional, classical arena moved him toward being a renowned leader in a brand new art movement called “abstract expressionism.” This style was devoid of recognizable content and instead used color, line and shape to express the spontaneous assertion of the individual artist; no recognizable landscapes or vases of flowers here! Pollock’s weak spot forced him to find a new path.


On this new unconventional path, Pollock often poured commercial house paint directly onto large unprimed canvases which were stretched across the floor of his barn-studio. Not surprisingly, his technique became known as the “drip and dribble” style–and he was sometimes humorously called “Jack the Dripper!” Pollock sometimes applied paint with sticks, hardened brushes and basting syringes. In addition, he used expansive, sweeping dance-like movements, saying he wished to be “in” his paintings himself; this came to be called “action” painting.

In April of 2006, Pollock’s “Drip-and-Dribble” style painting, titled “No. 5, l948,” became the most expensive painting ever sold at $140 million (and is still the 2nd highest transaction ever). Remember now, this work was painted by a guy who wasn’t so swift with drawing or with using the traditional brush, but who didn’t just sit down and quit painting when his classical efforts weren’t panning out. This was painted by an artist who said, “Just because I can’t do it that way, doesn’t mean I can’t figure out an entirely new and different way.” This was done by an artist who found a means to make masterpieces in spite of his shortcomings and who, in the process, helped launch an entirely new style of art (abstract expressionism, incidentally, became one of the most popular styles in the 20th century).


Ask yourself, “What are some of my own weaknesses?”

• Do you just accept them “sitting down” because you “just can’t do anything about them?”
• Because of them, what do you close the door on?
• Do you dismiss them, instead of looking at them a little longer and a little more closely to see if there is maybe another way you can approach this?
• Which of your weaknesses could be turned into strengths?

Today, get out your own bucket and
drip and dribble in your own way to
turn your weaknesses into strengths.

Turn your WEAK spot into your SWEET Spot!

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