Ever The Learner

First Published Monday, 4 January 2016


In my first blog I talked about one for the earning and one for the learning in my work as a painter, but did not talk much about the learning part. As an artist (and horse rider) or really anything in work or pastime that we are passionate about, I believe that we are ever learning. Some quotes have helped me along the way here. My old riding mentor, Marjorie Collis used to say "If you think you know all there is to know about horses then you should give up riding and keep goldfish instead" and I think the sentiment is applicable to art too. When we think we know it all our work becomes formula and while there is some merit in having a style and body of work that is recognisable I believe there should be development and progression too. It is also great fun to challenge and learn. To this end I maintain a drawing and life drawing habit, both to 'practice my scales' i.e. the basics and to experiment and challenge how I look, draw and paint. There are many quotes in the art world about this too. The Japanese master Katsushika Hokusai influenced me primarily with his sketches, the 'Hokusai Manga', but also in his quotes. He produced most of his famous works after the age of 60 and is quoted as stating: "From the age of six, I had a passion for copying the form of things and since the age of fifty I have published many drawings, yet of all I drew by my seventieth year there is nothing worth taking in to account. At seventy-three years I partly understood the structure of animals, birds, insects and fishes, and the life of grasses and plants. And so, at eighty-six I shall progress further; at ninety I shall even further penetrate their secret meaning, and by one hundred I shall perhaps truly have reached the level of the marvelous and divine. When I am one hundred and ten, each dot, each line will possess a life of its own." Unfortunately he died before reaching 90 so we will never know if he would have reached his goal, but the sentiment is applicable whatever our age or stage of artistic development.

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The contents of this article or blog are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article or blog. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article or blog. Ruth Buchanan disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article or blog.

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