Pupils in all the schools in this country are now exposed to all kinds of temptations
which blunt their feelings.
I constantly feel discouraged in addressing them
because I know not how to tell them boldly what they ought to do,
when I feel how practically difficult it is for them to do it.
If you paint as you ought, and study as you ought,
depend upon it the public will take no notice of you for a long while.
If you study wrongly, and try to draw the attention of the public upon you,
—supposing you to be clever students—you will get swift reward;
but the reward does not come fast when it is sought wisely;
it is always held aloof for a little while;
the right roads of early life are very quiet ones,
hedged in from nearly all help or praise.
But the wrong roads are noisy, —vociferous everywhere with all kinds of demand upon you for art
which is not properly art at all;
and in the various meetings of modern interests, money is to be made in every way;
but art is to be followed only in one way.
Our Schools of Art are confused by the various teaching and various interests
that are now abroad among us.
Everybody is talking about art, and writing about it, and more or less interested in it;
everybody wants art, and there is not art for everybody,
and few who talk know what they are talking about;
thus students are led in all variable ways,
while there is only one way in which they can make steady progress,
for true art is always and will be always one.
Whatever changes may be made in the customs of society,
whatever new machines we may invent, whatever new manufactures we may supply,
Fine Art must remain what it was two thousand years ago, in the days of Phidias;
two thousand years hence, it will be, in all its principles,
and in all its great effects upon the mind of man, just the same.
Observe this that I say, please, carefully, for I mean it to the very utmost.
There is but one right way of doing any given thing required of an artist;
there may be a hundred wrong, deficient, or mannered ways,
but there is only one complete and right way.