I had been looking at old master drawings, and some of them — perhaps Delacroix’s drawings from his trip to Morocco? — had notations in their margins.  I figured that anything the old masters did was good for me to try, so if they took notes so would I.  I might have intended to paint this later on, but I never did.  So it’s all notated up with no where to go.

My dog was a perpetual subject.  I’d named him Hokusai after the great Japanese master who was known for his drawings of animals as well as for his scenes of Mt. Fuji.

Well, it was a long time ago.  My Hokusai barks at the Heavenly Mailman now.  And while I still sometimes take notes on drawings, I only do so for practical reasons.   But my dog was cute, and I did cute things like imitate Delacroix taking notes, and I was cute then in other ways, too.  It was a cute time, and this, a souvenir of my “cute” phase.

The first Hokusai, meanwhile, said this about drawing:  “From around the age of six, I had the habit of sketching from life. I became an artist, and from fifty on began producing works that won some reputation, but nothing I did before the age of seventy was worthy of attention. At seventy-three, I began to grasp the structures of birds and beasts, insects and fish, and of the way plants grow. If I go on trying, I will surely understand them still better by the time I am eighty-six, so that by ninety I will have penetrated to their essential nature. At one hundred, I may well have a positively divine understanding of them, while at one hundred and thirty, forty, or 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 me the chance to prove that this is no lie.

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