May 27, 2006


The following quote is by Hokusai... of "The Great Wave" fame:

"...but all I have done before the the age of seventy is not worth bothering with. At seventy five I'll have learned something of the pattern of nature, of animals, of plants, of trees, birds, fish and insects. When I am eighty you will see real progress. At ninety I shall have cut my way deeply into the mystery of life itself. At a hundred I shall be a marvelous artist. At a hundred and ten everything I create; a dot, a line, will jump to life as never before. To all of you who are going to live as long as I do, I promise to keep my word. I am writing this in my old age. I used to call myself Hokosai, but today I sign my self 'The Old Man Mad About Drawing." -- Hokusai

Well, I'm not writing this from my old age, but I can see it coming if I squint. The talking heads are fond of saying things like 'fifty is the new thirty' or similar. Well, I'm not fifty and I sure don't want to be thirty again, I just want to be the best I can be right here and right now. Those following this blog will recall that I made a big deal of wanting to regain my drawing skills, among other things, and although I gave it a shot, not with the dedication I'd hoped. I'm in awe of all the daily drawing blogs out there, and I follow a bunch but they haunt me with guilt.

"How hard I find it is to see what is right in front of my eyes!" -- Ludwig Wittenstein. That's the quote that really got my attention. I must try harder to see.


Martha Marshall said...

Karen, that is just a wonderful quote. Thanks for sharing it.

Omega said...

I used to beat myself up about not learning to draw properly, and for sliding away from the discipline of daily practice. And then I met an art teacher who introduced me to blind drawing, who proved that I could draw - and as a complete amateur produced 'better' results than the art college students and graduates around me in the class. The reponsibility to myself in that knowledge frightened the hell out of me and I ran away from art for a long time.

Now, however, I realise that we each have our own techniques which help us to look better, and to see. It has taken time, is still taking time, and will continue to take time. But I don't feel envious or guilty any more - I can admire the facility in others, and strive to improve myself, but happily so.

Coincidentally I wrote a bit about seeing and looking in my own blog yesterday:

KJ said...

Glad you liked the quote, Martha... we sometimes need these reminders from great minds of the past that learning is ongoing and goals are all important and any age.

Omega... I was drawing with my 5 yr old g-kid yesterday and noticed that she hardly looked at the paper but kept her eyes on the object she was drawing. And it was as good as any blind contour drawing I could have done! My nag about drawing is that there was a time when I was pretty good at it, my early work was dependent on my drawing skills. But abstract work has robbed me of something I want to recapture, and will, with time and effort.

Thanks for your comments, I'm enjoying your blog and will post a link to it.