"Remember, learn diligence before speedy execution." - - Leonardo Da Vinci
I ran across a few quotes that really struck me while I was perusing a book on painting. They were quotes from artists, but the similarities between what a painter thinks and sees and the conclusions the wisest of them reach are not that different than those a writer might do well to ponder.
Like the one above from Leonardo Da Vinci that bears repeating: "Remember, learn diligence before speedy execution."
This is one thing that worries me about the goals we make. So often, they have to do with production and not learning. Perhaps words and pages are to a writer as brush strokes are to a painter. If that is so, then isn't the finished (and true to the vision) product the goal, not how many strokes it took to get there, not how many days or weeks it took to cover the canvas with paint? By putting the emphasis on the tangible goal of completing something in a timely manner before our attention span fizzles away, maybe we're missing the point or maybe the point is simply understood -- to do the best we can do within the confines of our talent, our expertise and the inevitable deadlines imposed by commercial and personal challenges.
Here's another one: "Some say they see poetry in my paintings. I see only science." Georges Seurat
I think many of us have felt this way, too. We put so much energy into saying something right. You know what I mean. The right grammar, the right sentence structure, the right black moment or character arc or hook. It's like a model has to think, "Find the right light, watch it, don't scrunch the shoulders and loose the neck, what's my foot doing, where are my hands, do my eyes look fierce?, bend my leg -- " all in an instant before the photographer snaps the photo. I sometimes feel this way when I write -- it's like the more I know, the more I need to remember to use it correctly and yet have it appear effortless and instinctual. Oh, and fun!
I'll leave you with one more:
"Find out what you like if you can. Find out what is really important to you. You will have something to sing about and your whole heart will be in the singing." -- Robert Henri
Have a favorite quote that transcends genres or mediums? Think I'm comparing apples and oranges? Maybe I'm trying to compare great painters with commercial artists and literary works of art with pop culture writing. Maybe the similarities blur although I doubt any of us set out to create mediocrity. Any thoughts?