Oh, I get it.

A superb painter let me take a brush to a canvas that she said she was abandoning. I tried to continue a simple black stroke that she had started. The contrast between the controlled pressure of her touch and my flaccid smear shocked me, physically. It was like shaking hands with a small person who flips you across a room.

~ Peter Schjeldahl, The Art of Dying (The New Yorker, December 16, 2019)



  1. You know I’d love that analogy…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. this is the perfect way to explain the difference

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is terrific!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Whoa.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Some years, one lumbers around the Internet looking for exactly this read. (Thank u, DK!) I’m even more glad that he enjoyed writing it!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As an artist, I am always surprised when people say they would love to paint but have no talent or simply cannot. It feels such an integral part of who I am there is no gap between wanting to do it and doing it. – then again, I don’t tend to abandon paintings. I just paint over them. 🙂

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  7. Beautifully said. Not something I ever would have thought of as I know nothing about painting.

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  8. Bloody great

    Liked by 1 person

  9. “What we hope ever to do with ease, we must first learn to do with diligence.”
    ― Samuel Johnson
    I love watching people do what they are gifted at!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. wow – such a powerful comment about the underestimated skill of an artist (although I think I could duct tape a banana to a wall). love the handshake analogy as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This is really quite a wonderful mini memoir [The Art of Dying]. I’ve read it several times and it is a classic in its own way. Memoir, confessional document, commentary tangentially about a time and culture that is passing from view. Lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

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