On Your Desk
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The lessons you are meant to learn

A random still life on the studio work tableRandom still life on the studio table, with paints, paper, and birdnest

"What you need to know about [your next piece of art] is contained in the last piece. The place to learn about your materials is in the last use of your materials. The place to learn about your execution is in your execution. The best information about what you love is in your last contact with what you love. Put simply, your work is your guide: a complete, comprehensive, limitless reference book on your work. There is no other such book, and it is yours alone. It functions this way for no one else. Your fingerprints are all over your work, and you alone know how they got there. Your work tells you about your working methods, your discipline, your strengths and weaknesses, your habitual gestures, your willingness to embrace.

"The lessons you are meant to learn are in your work. To see them, you need only look at the work clearly -- without judgement, without need or fear, without wishes or hopes. Without emotional expectations. Ask your work what it needs, not what you need. Then set aside your fears and listen, the way a good parent listens to a child."    -- David Bayles & Ted Orland, Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking