When you chose the masterpiece to study, I asked you about your intentions in studying this painting, and what challenges you anticipated.
Please now consider this question in a slightly different form: what would you paint (or, more generally, what would you be/do/make) if you had the same artistry and mastery that attracted you to studying this painting in the first place?
You don’t need to send me your answer (unless you want to). I’d love to read it, but that’s not the point: rather, I suggest you ask this question of yourself, and wait for the answer to come from the depth of your mind. Stay with the question for some time, trying to pre-sense* this future painting (or another artwork, or just a new way of being an artist). If the answer doesn’t come, just leave the question in the background of your mind — live the question, as Rainer Maria Rilke advised “the young poet”.**
Write a few notes about this experience in your sketchbook, or in your journal — it will be interesting to return to these reflections when this painting study is completed. Return to this question several times in the course of the program.
[*] I borrowed the term “pre-sense” (changing the spelling a bit) from Otto Scharmer’s “U-theory”. It reminds me of a couple of my favorite lines from Boris Pasternak, where he imagines a life lived so as, in the end, “to attract the love of space, and hear the call of the future“. As a painter, my primary sense is vision, not hearing, and “pre-sensing” sounds like a nice word to cover both modes of getting “connected” to the future.