Knowing Where Put The Dots Takes Experience

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I have lately read a few different versions of this underlying story. One allegedly involved Picasso (scroll down to Cost of perfection). Another is a story about an artist who is heckled painting live. This story is based in Japan and reproduced from my local-until-last-year newspaper, The Advertiser, authored by Petrus Spronk. I clipped this out of the paper and kept it for about 2 years before deciding to type it up here this. And what do you know but Petrus turns out to be a well known local ceramicist who has an exhibition opening at the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery on Friday. How's that for a bit of synchronicity? I had no idea who he was when I first saw this article. It simply spoke to me:

Life can be seen as a path.

Along it we occasionally come across signposts.

These signposts appear in the form of people, books, films and experiences. You know it is a useful signpost when it changes your life's direction for the better.

Here is a signpost I found when, as an artist, I visited the world of otherness.

In Japan there once lived a famous painter, who was approached by a businessman who wanted a painting of a fish for his office.

The painter agreed and the businessman paid a large sum as a deposit.

After half a year the businessman contacted the painter and asked how the painting was developing. 'Not quite ready,' the painter replied.

Some time after, the painter rang the businessman to tell him the painting was ready.

When the businessman arrived, the painter chose a beautiful sheet of handmade paper.

He chose his brushes and prepared his paints.

Then with a few strong and deliberate strokes he painted the most beautiful image of a fish. Exquisite.

The businessman was amazed and surprised.

Why, he wanted to know, did he have to wait so long and pay so much money for something that took so little time and effort to create?

The answer, the painter told him, would be found in the large cupboard in the corner of the studio.

When the businessman opened the cupboard, thousands of practice paintings of fish fell out.

Image courtesy of
Sara Everett

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