To be free of technique is to master technique. A lack of mastery gets in the way, or limits, expression. It is not an either/or situation. It is not a matter of saying which is more importrant. Both are necessary and what I embrace is an integration of seeing and the skills to present that seeing.

When I was in college I studied both art and music and it was amazing to me the differences. In a music class, the teacher would play a (unknown)melody on the piano and the students had to write out in musical notation what the teacher played (by hearing the notes, not by seeing the hands on the piano). This was part of ear training. Now either you could do it or you couldn't (well there is a continuum I guess...like you might get the first few notes, or all of it, or none of it). Basically, either you had the skills to hear and recognize the intervals between notes, remember them, and write them down in musical notation, or you did not have those skills. It was an objective, measurable skill that had nothing to do with thoughts or feelings. You could not fake it in the music class like you could in the painting class.

Can you imagine a musician without technical skills? Are the technical skills everything? Of course not; the technical skills are a means to an end, expression. When a musician has mastered the technical part of it, she or he can focus on expression. When the technical skills are not mastered, the focus is on technique. Is sloppy playing intended to be sloppy playing or is it sloppy playing by default?

If I have a vision I want to express, I don't want to compromise that expression, or make it harder on myself to share that expression, because of technical weakness.