Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Art of Success and Failure . . .

“Nothing is more strange in art than the way that chance and materials seem to favour you, when once you have thoroughly conquered them. Make yourself quite independent of chance, get your result in spite of it, and from that day forward all things will somehow fall as you would have them.”

“Still, do not be discouraged if you find that you have chosen ill, and that the subject overmasters you. It is much better that it should, than that you should think you had entirely mastered it. But at first, and even for some time, you must be prepared for very discomfortable failure; which, nevertheless, will not be without some wholesome result.”

“When you have practised for a little time from such of these subjects as may be accessible to you, you will certainly find difficulties arising which will make you wish more than ever for a master’s help: these difficulties will vary according to the character of your own mind (one question occurring to one person, and one to another), so that it is impossible to anticipate them all . . . you must be content to work on, in good hope that Nature will, in her own time, interpret to you much for herself; that farther experience on your own part will make some difficulties disappear; and that others will be removed by the occasional observation of such artists’ work as may come in your way.”

(John Ruskin, The Elements of Drawing)

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