Be your own master

If not now, then when?

It's an old Sufi Koan:

"Who lets go of the ladder,
May fall upward."

How old does one need to be?

How many more classes studying other people's techniques does one still need to take before one finds one's own style?

This line of inquiry was prompted by this artwork, I just so happened to stumble upon, quite serendipitously so, this morning on my way to the forum, at the window of a frame store:

Though I find it hard to believe, the owner of the store told me it was made by a five-year-old.

It's actually quite a nice piece, though it's a bit hard to tell with the reflection on the window.

While I did so enjoy the picture you sent me today of the Senior art class, where you and your fellow artists have been busily reproducing other people's work, I must say—no offense—that I was more impressed, this morning, by the artwork from that five-year-old.

Her piece is fresh and authentically hers. It's also a portrait of her mom. Quite a resembling one, too, from what I was told.

This little girl, Olive, who is only five, has already created her own masterpiece.

Think about this.

Isn't it about time that you found your own style and started working on your own creation?

Our good friend JR never was afraid to let go of the ladder—you do remember JR, don't you? And you guys have far more technical expertise than he ever did.

Letting go of the ladder and flying is also a theme made famous in an oft-quoted poem:

I think both you and D are in a unique position in your lives to start working on your own oeuvre.

If not now, then when?

Other have done it, who knew less than you did.

Henri Rousseau comes to mind.

Essentially, he was self-taught.

And, unlike you guys, he didn't have at his disposal all the precious resources the internet offers.

Though, admittedly, he did receive "some advice" from two established Academic painters, Félix Auguste Clément and Jean-Léon Gérôme.

If you feel you still need a teacher, if you need to be taught, you can go on being taught forever through the rest of your live. Until you die. And then what will have you learned?

Beware of spell binders. Don't give your power away.

The same thing is true of art and creative expression.

The little girl who made that piece...

                                                                     She flies!

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