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IT'S RAINING GREAT MASTERS! NOT. Monday's Motivational
Category: Writing
Tags: Rubens Turner Tate Britain Stadel motivation talent

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Peter Paul Rubens exhibition in Frankfurt at the Stadel Museum. A month previously, we visited the Tate Britain art museum in London to view the works of J M W Turner. Two hundred years separate Rubens (1577-1640) and Turner (1775-1851) and their masterpieces. However, what struck me about both of them – and one can probably extrapolate this to masters in every field of endeavor over the centuries – is that they did not "fall from heaven". In German there is a marvelous saying: "Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen." Literally: Masters do not just fall from heaven. No, it takes hard work, constant practice and a lot of passion to keep you at it. And yes, a bit of talent would also be helpful.

The commentaries accompanying both of these exhibits certainly confirm this. Although their styles and subject matter were completely different, Rubens and Turner had something in common: They travelled extensively to experience what other artists were doing or had already done, no doubt, with an eye as to what they could learn from them and build on. The Flemish Rubens spent a lot of time in Spain and Italy, studying the masters, even purchasing books of their sketches to copy and rework. Rubens, thus, learned from their techniques and developed them further until he came up with something uniquely his for his canvases depicting religious or mythological subjects. In the early nineteenth century, after having already entered the Royal Academy of Art in London at the age of fourteen, Turner began sketching his way around Europe, filling books with drawings to be used later for his large-format land and seascapes when he returned home to London.

Both artists kept developing their skills over decades, always with an eye to the current "competition", yet in reality, building upon what earlier generations of artists had achieved. It calls up for me the image of a young artist standing on the shoulders of a past master as he climbs towards genius.

What is true for the aforementioned Masters, is true for all artists, regardless of their medium – visual, acoustic or verbal – and regardless of their level of talent. One is capable of taking canvas and a bit of color to paint a masterpiece; another plucks sounds from thin air and conjures melodies; still another transforms words into poetry or tales of love and hate. Such a person seems, to me, a magician, for they create beauty from thin air. Yet he or she would have wasted their talent if they had not studied their craft and been disciplined by hard work.

What lesson I took away for my writing from my brief encounter with Rubens and Turner? To start with, I really need to work harder: read more (learn from the masters), write more (practice), rewrite more (kill those darlings). Please don’t think I dare compare myself to these all-time greats. Obviously, I do not see myself destined to be a Great Master of Anything, but I can make the most of the talent I may have, augmenting it with hard work and looking to the stars of literature for motivation.

Another adage Germans use and I find myself uttering almost daily is:

"Man lernt nie aus." –  You never finish learning.

This Week March 26th. 2018
Category: Site News

Monday Muse

Jill will be providing the prompts to get our creative juices flowing.


Debbie will undoubtedly provide an interesting blog.


A prototype of the new planner system has been agreed by members. Each is allocated tasks on an alphabetical rota. If any member cannot fulfil his/her commitment then that person must find a replacement. The onus is not on Lesley. Thanks to Lesley for the hard work.

March/April Opportunities

There is a week left to enter these March competitions:

*Horror Flash Fiction THEME: Horror story of a lone survivor on a deserted island. Deadline 31st. March.

*Henshaw Press Deadline 31st. March 

Varying deadlines for the April competitions as follows:

*  Deadline 9th. April - Short notice but if you have a 'Looking Glass' themed story under 2,500 words then a possible.

*Stories of the Nature of Cities Urban Flash Fiction. Deadline 15th. April

*The Molotov Cocktail - Killer Flash. Deadline 20th. April

*  Deadlines April 29th. and May 20th. 


Works in Progress

*Take a last look at 'The Forger', Jill's entry for Henshaw.

*Lesley's 'Nyctophobia' will be winging its way to the Horror Flash Fiction any time now so check it out soon.

*Chris N has an edited flash about to be posted for the same competition.

*Alyson has a story on the theme of 'the wedding gift' for critiquing.

The Meeting Room

*New member Jim will be taking some time out.

*Waiting for information on Sue.

The Bragging Stool

Angela, Chris, Crilly, Laura, and Sue feature in Ad Hoc yet again. Sue believes this is her 97th. appearance!

Congratulations to Alyson for her third place in Brilliant Flash Fiction. Read here:

Jill is published in the Earlyworks Press Anthology. Apologies, I don't have a link.

 WA Newsletter 

*Members agree on the viability of a newsletter. See the notes of the formal meeting, Sunday 25th. March, penned by Angela.


Formal chat: Sunday, 22nd. April 2018 at 11 a.m. CET with Chris N in the Chair

This Week on WA
Category: Site News

A summary of what is happening around the site... 

Blog: Vanessa has penned an informative post about using emotion more in our writing. Something many of us struggle with I should imagine! 

Monday Muses: Maggie has challenged us to write about childhood and fantasy providing some great photo's and a prompt. The world is such a magical place when your a child, it's rich picking for a story, if only I could remember that far back!

Feedback - both Angela and Alyson have posted pieces for the March Challenge and Jill, Lesley and Sue have pieces in the Works in Progress forum. If you have a minute please take a look.

The Bragging Stool is unusually vacant this past week, where are those Ad Hoccers or have I missed something. 

In the Notice Board you'll find a link for your secondary contact details if you haven't already provided it. And Angela is looking for advice about a creative writing CV.

And finally, in the Meeting Room you'll find the agenda for the meeting this coming Sunday at 4pm. And remember the clocks go forward for British Summertime!

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