Elegant Survival

Stylish Living on a Shoestring
Since 2006

M-J's Miscellany

Learn a Skill

Posted on October 2, 2010 at 11:27 PM

Many people these days are taught that desire is all a person needs to realise their dream. That is the route to abject failure. Learning a skill is paramount to survival.

Recently, a man who had been chef-owner of a restaurant and appeared on Gordon Ramsay’s cooking-competition show was told by Mr Ramsay that he had no business acumen, and therefore should not be involved in that endeavour. A year later the man tragically committed suicide, which was a damned unfortunate object lesson.

In league with a male accomplice, the original writer of the “Preppy Handbook” has written an updated version. This compendium of ill-conceived, contradictory bits of advice for those not-to-the-manner-born recommends several snob-approved job options. Among these is “art restorer,” described as perfect for part-time artists. Yet nothing could be farther from the truth: one must benefit from a high level of technical expertise and experience to do such work--I know from having been an art restorer for many years.

Today’s artists often don’t even understand how to mix colours, much less replicate them. (A well-known painter recently asked me at a dinner party how to mix green; I learned in kindergarten that blue and yellow make green; he also inquired as to whether or not the oil paint colour ochre was made from okra....) You really cannot even call yourself an artist absent the basic knowledge that the field requires. Today, persons of all ages are told that everything in life is possible just by wishing it. Art restoration is a very serious business that takes years of training in the craft. Most part-time artists have neither the training nor the professional ethics to restore art. This complex and legally touchy profession is not for the glib nor the faint-of-heart. The responsibility involved is enormous. Don’t believe everything you read--instead, learn a skill of your own that you can market effectively, and give the lie to the dream squad of modern fantasists, who believe that you need only show up brimming with desire to become a success.

©M-J de Mesterton, 2010


Categories: Elegant Survival Recommendations, Elegant Survival, Mental Health