Monday, January 22, 2007

My Credo for Training my Judgment

From "The Painter, in Oil" written around 1920 by Daniel Burleigh Parkhurst

"Train your judgment. - Let us say, then, that you must train your critical judgment. How you to set about it?

In the first place, don't set up your own liking as a criterion . Make up your mind that when it comes to a choice between personal taste and that of some one who may be supposed to know, between what you think and what has been consented to by all the men who have ever had an opinion worthy of respect, you may rest assured that you (myself -ed) are wrong. It is when you have made up your mind to that, when you have reached the mental attitude, you have taken a long step towards training your judgment; for you have admitted a standard outside of mere opinion.

Another attitude that you should place your mind in is one of catholicity - one of openness to the possibility of their being many ways of being right. Don't allow yourself to take it for granted that any one school or way of painting or looking at things is the only right one, and that all the other ways are wrong. That point of view may do for a man who has studied and thought, and finally arrived at that conclusion which suits his mind and his nature, -- but it will not do for a student. Such an attitude is a sure bar to progress. It results in narrowness of idea, narrowness of perception, and narrowness of appreciation. You should try all things, and hold fast to that which is good, and even while holding fast to it, you should remember that was good and true for you is not necessarily the only good in true for some one else. You must not only hold to your own liberty of choice, but recognize the same right for others. If this is not recognized, what room has originality to work in?"

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