|Hokusai’s Kōshu Inume-tōge (The Inume pass in the Kai province), subject of my comparative paper of his and Caspar David Friedrich‘s mountain landscapes.|
Since my sixth year I have felt the impulse to represent the form of things; by the age of fifty I had published numberless drawings; but I am displeased with all I have produced before the age of seventy. It is at seventy-three that I have begun to understand the form and the true nature of birds, of fishes, of plants and so forth. Consequently, by the time I get to eighty, I shall have made much progress; at ninety, I shall get to the essence of things; at a hundred, I shall certainly come to a superior, undefinable position; and at the age of a hundred and ten, every point, every line, shall be alive. And I leave it to those who shall live as I have myself, to see if I have not kept my word.
Hokusai wrote this introduction for his 36 views of Mount Fuji (1830) which he published when he was in his seventies. He kept on painting.
This is reassuring… I’ve always felt that developing as an artist, maturing into your own style, takes lots of time and shouldn’t be rushed. I think that’s why I’ve shied away from taking lots of art classes -I have done a few, but just to learn the technical basics (drawing, lampworking, metalsmithing) so I could work on it by myself afterwards. I feel I have still a long way to go, so much to learn, but it doesn ‘t worry me. On the contrary, it gives me a rare sense of serenity. I read this wonderful reminder (and Hokusai’s quote) on Terri Windling’s blogpost Growing into your work.