I read recently about someone's struggles to improve their painting, and how the more they tried, the less it seemed they understood. Or they saw how much there was that they still did not understand. But in comparing their work to work of previous years, they could finally see that their skills were being honed and the work improved. I have felt recently that there might be just the slightest bit of improvement in my own work, infinitesimal perhaps, but there. Until today, when my hand seemed to become disconnected from my brain; I had ideas, plans, but the paint that hit the canvas was an out of control mess which just got worse the more I pushed at it. I tried a smaller canvas, with similar results. Finally I turned to the pencil, going back to the very basics; I just had to salvage something out of this day of effort. It isn't going up on a wall, but at least it reminded me that I can get to what I am after from time to time. Claude Monet.