I am afraid I have inferred something that simply isn't true, I have inferred (I am afraid) that I am no longer teaching myself how to paint. I am still teaching myself how to paint. Every day, you'll pardon my language, is a fucking lesson in learning how to paint. Something as rudimentary as how to apply the paint, it is something I am still learning! I do not always know how to apply paint! Even today, even today after so many years of painting that I have made some very good paintings and many more bad paintings, even today after so many of those years, I am wondering how the fuck (pardon me) I am going to apply the paint because I did not do it well yesterday, and yesterday has now become today, and I do not wish to spend the day applying paint like a fucking (sorry) seizuring Bedlamite. So I am still learning how to apply paint, and it has been several years now that I have been painting in earnest, every day. Painting is a trick, an illusion, that is for sure, but it is not the trick or the illusion you are probably thinking of; it is, rather, a trick or an illusion wherein the painting appears to have been easily made, where it seems easy to do. Yes, yes, I know—some paintings are easily made. And, yes, I also know that some painters are more deft than others, I am sure almost all painters are more deft than I, I am not very deft, though sometimes I am in a happy haze of deftness, and perhaps in those times, I am under some foolish impression that I have taught myself how to paint and that I am no longer a student. But I am not in that happy haze very often. Mostly painting is like wrestling a bear, I have said that before, and throughout the process of painting, the bear is usually winning, although oftentimes I am able to pin it down long enough to make a painting I am happy with, but the struggle always takes its toll, and, pinned or not, the bear still roars with its stewy breath and bloodied teeth, and I am still afraid of it, I am still as in awe of this terrible beast that is painting as some are of the storm-beset ocean and others the unclimbable sky—whatever one calls one's awful god. I am still afraid of it.