From the age of five, I have had a mania for sketching the forms of things. From about the age of 50, I produced a number of designs [many of which were published], yet of all I drew prior to the age of 70, there is truly nothing of any great note. At the age of 73, I finally apprehended something of the true quality of birds, animals, insects, fishes, and of the vital nature of grasses and trees. Therefore, at 80, I shall have made some progress; at 90, I shall have penetrated even further the deeper meaning of things; at 100, I shall have become truly marvelous; and, at 110, each dot, each line shall surely possess a life of its own.
Although he yearned for “yet another decade—nay, even another five years,” Hokusai never managed to reach his desired 110. Still seeking an ultimate truth in art, he died at the age of 89, having created some of his best work in his later years, despite being afflicted intermittently with paralysis.
We know that Western artists have also continued working into their "twilight years." I am grateful to Judith Selby for sending me this link to rare 1915 films of Monet, Rodin, Degas, and Renoir (with hands crippled by arthritis) as old men still painting or sculpting. Maybe something similar will turn up for women artists as well. http://hyperallergic.com/238615/rare-1915-films-show-rodin-monet-renoir-and-degas-in-their-twilight-years/
When you reflect on your life in art, what do you remember about the various times--the frustrations and satisfactions--and what kept you going?
Do you feel your art-making is deeper or more interesting than it was 5-10-20 years ago? What's the difference?