Practicing any art is like climbing a very steep ladder or playing a piano well. One rung or one key follows another and if you miss a step you stumble and the harmony is broken.
Below are excerpts from a blog that examines ways to improve your art. The artist, R Genn, calls them "365 Keys".
One quote that I particularly like is this:
"A life in art seems to be forever a work in progress".
"All my life I've been trying to figure out ways to improve my painting. That includes study of the work of those I consider masters, trying to get the hang of their ideas, techniques and processes, and, on my own part, simple, garden-variety toil. ...
Over the past twenty years or so, I've built up a word list that has been gradually added to and subtracted from. At one point the words actually added up to 365. I called them 'Keys.' ...
In my occasional forays into mentoring and work-shopping, I also found myself encouraging painters to build lists for themselves--lists that might reflect their own techniques and tastes. Inevitably, I had to explain some items in my own list. ....
....You might find some on my list to be self-contradictory, but that's the nature of the beast. While anyone can paint, it's difficult to paint well. If it were easy to paint well, perhaps everyone would be doing it. Our work is also complicated by the fact that we often don't know what glue we're in until we're already into it.
A life in art seems to be forever a work in progress. If you catch my drift, you may find that your own words and phrases will pop up and down like a whack-a-mole".
Truth and Habits
There's an essay by Bishop James D. Conley circulating on the news sites entitled "Ever Ancient, Ever New: The Role of Beauty in the Restoration of Catholic Culture". In it, he explains how he and fellow students were missing some fundamental elements in their lives. "Truth" he explains " was the ultimate goal. But the search for truth involved certain habits of mind, and habits of life, which we—as students—did not have. Our pursuit of truth required an initiation into beauty: the beauty of music, visual art and architecture, nature, poetry, dance, calligraphy, and many other things".