Thursday, May 12, 2016

Thursday Thoughts...

“Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.” 

Edgar Degas

There is a strange turnabout logic to these words I think. At first they seem counter-intuitive; but yet their truth is borne out by life and experience I think.

As I have developed some skills over the years, it has become apparent to me that the more you know the more questions you have, or the more there is to learn.

Oftentimes once you have mastered the basic skill, you might think "there you go I can paint/sketch/print/solder/carve/do calligraphy" and yet the further you go along you realise the more there is to learn and that you have managed to learn the skill, but you are a long way from mastering it.  Years and years of practice and doing and you are still learning.

Perhaps its about knowing more and perhaps its about being a better critic of your own work, or perhaps its about having looked at the heroes of the genre you operate in and realising just how good they are, and why, and where your work differs.

Still, I'm happy to be trundling along the path, realising how much more there is to learn and to do.

One of Degas' ballerinas at Musee d'Orsay, Paris. (Small dancer aged 14).


  1. I will never forget seeing a blockbuster show at the Art Gallery of NSW back in 1973 and eavesdropping on two middle aged ladies (younger than I am now) looking at a Degas of a lady at her bath saying "She's got a big bum!" I have tried to avoid making glib comments when observing other people's art ever since...

    1. It's quite amazing isn't it Mo where some folk's brains take them when looking at art? I try to be thoughtful, even if critical or unappreciative, and wherever possible not glib! Go well.

  2. When we begin, we don't know what we don't know or can't do ... as we progress it becomes more and more apparent. But what a pleasure that is and a relief. If we could learn all there is to know about art, how dull and unchallenging it would be, and how bored we would quickly become.

    1. I agree Margaret, so true that we don't know what we don't know when we begin, and its best that way or else we would all be completely overwhelmed and go no further! I think we learn what we have to learn when we are ready to absorb it- enough of a challenge to keep us going rather than stop us in our tracks. And yes, still so much to learn! Go well.


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