Just give me time

«From around the age of six I have been mad about sketching the forms of life.

By the time I was fifty, I had published a lot of drawings,

but until the age of seventy, nothing that I drew was worthy of attention.

At the age of seventy-three, I began to grasp the real structures of birds, animals, insects and fish, and of the way plants grow.

If I go on trying, at eighty I hope to have apprehended them still better,

and at ninety I shall have penetrated to their true nature,

so that at one hundred years I will have achieved a truly marvelous understanding of them,

and at one hundred and more, I will have reached the stage where every dot and every stroke I paint will be alive.

May Heaven, that grants long life, give the chance to prove the truth of my words.»

– Hokusai, autobiographical postscript to One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji, written in 1835, at age 75. Constantly seeking to produce better work, he apparently exclaimed on his deathbed: “If only Heaven will give me just another ten years… just another five more years, then I could become a real painter”. Hokusai died on May 10, 1849.


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