Sculpting

The sculptor must paint with his chisel: Half his touches are not to realize, but to put power into, the form. They are touches of light and shadow, and raise a ridge, or sink a hollow, not to represent an actual ridge or hollow, but to get a line of ight, or a spot of darkness.

~ John Ruskin

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Not in a vacuum

It can be easy to look at great geniuses like Newton and imagine that their ideas and work came solely out of their minds, that they spun it from their own thoughts—that they were true originals. But that is rarely the case.

~ Shane Parrish from, https://fs.blog/2020/04/shoulders-of-giants/

There’s a perennial discussion around creativity that gets described various ways: “Steal like an artist.” “Repurpose what’s been done before.” “Creating new from the old.” I like Parrish’s point, (in the article but not the quote above,) that “geniuses” first mastered the best that others had to offer. Then they go onward and farther to create something new.

If the only thing someone has ever done is sample and remix others’ work… meh. But if someone has mastered some field—art, math, music, whatever—and then recombines and extends, (or pares down or transmogrifies)… then, ok. My distinction feels very close to the, No true Scotsman, logic fallacy, and yet I think it’s a useful distinction.

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Example of the mind

The idea of the painter and the sculptor is undoubtedly that perfect and excellent example of the mind, by imitation of which imagined form all things are represented which fall under human sight.

~ John Dryden

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Painting a masterpiece

You can’t really decide to paint a masterpiece. You just have to think hard, work hard, and try to make a painting that you care about. Then, if you’re lucky, your work will find an audience for whom it’s meaningful.

~ Susan Kare

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Decisions and outcomes

Decisions are good even if the outcomes aren’t. The same is true for the process of generous creativity. The process is a smart one even if the particular work doesn’t resonate, even if the art doesn’t sell, even if you aren’t happy with the reaction from the critics. That’s because what we seek and how we create aren’t the same thing.

~ Seth Godin

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Creating anything

Creating anything of consequence or magnitude requires deliberate, incremental and consistent work. At the beginning, these efforts might not look like they are amounting to much. But with time, they accumulate and then compound on each other. Whether it’s a book or a business or an anthill or a stalagmite, from humble beginnings come impressive outcomes.

~ Ryan Holiday

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