“By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the most bitter.”
Most of us are on a quest for wisdom. Reflecting on our creative work can give us a sense of where we have been and some insight into where we are going with our work. I am not sure how noble my reflection is. I am just trying to get some answers so that my work will improve.
You definitely can learn much by imitation. Finding an artist’s work that you admire and trying to do something similar can push you into new territory. Charles Caleb Colton said, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. Copying an artist’s work is a good exercise as long as it is kept as an exercise. Don’t try to pawn the copied work off as your own. Use the exercise as a way to learn new techniques, then file it away. Later you can use your experience to apply what was learned to your own original work. There are many instructional art books on the market that show you how-to steps. Use these materials to get you started.
Once you feel comfortable with creating and using your medium, then experience comes into play. Confucius says experience is bitter. Maybe. I feel that processing your creative experiences and then using them is difficult, not necessarily bitter. Remember the saying, “Practice makes perfect.” The more you use your experiences in art the better.
Today we are focusing on our quest for wisdom. Give us the ability to learn. Open our minds. Hold us in your loving arms as we reflect on our work. Help us to see where we need to go creatively. Show us how to improve our abilities. Place people and reference materials we need along our pathway to knowledge. Give us patience and the ability to laugh at our mistakes. Bless our journey.
In Christ’s Name. Amen.