Ruskin is here talking about requests to make someone an artist ...... instantly!
I could as soon tell you how to make or manufacture an ear of wheat, as to make a good artist of any kind. I can analyze the wheat very learnedly for you—and tell you there is starch in it, and carbon, and silex. I can give you starch, and charcoal, and flint; but you are as far from your ear of wheat as you were before. All that can possibly be done for any one who wants ears of wheat is to show them where to find grains of wheat, and how to sow them, and then, with patience, in Heaven’s time, the ears will come—or will perhaps come—ground and weather permitting. So in this matter of making artists—first you must find your artist in the grain; then you must plant him; fence and weed the field about him; and with patience, ground and weather permitting, you may get an artist out of him—not otherwise.
John Ruskin, The Two Paths, 1859
Haystacks in a field at Pont-Remy, near Abbeville
If you would like to see more of our botanical drawings, look at our Ruskin's Flora exhibition page, and our expanding illustrated catalogue of botanical drawings.