I tried to get at this "bent" at the earliest period of the student's career. But as a student must start on something, it was my endeavour to make that something a form of work that he would not find so difficult to shake off, if he found I had not correctly estimated at the start what his probable bent would be.
We know that painters have changed their technique many times, and such changes have often been brought about by the strangest accidents. It may be some quality seen in the work of a colleague that has turned the scales, some peculiar charm in an "Old Master"; even some casual remark by an intelligent layman may bring about a change, or some new medium, some new canvas: all these accidents (if they can so be called) are conducive to changes in a painter's method of work, if they happily come to pass at the psychological moment in the painter's mind. Sometimes change of subject, with the requisite new treatment, will put the painter on a new track, advantageous, or the reverse. You will, however, see many changes in a painter's method of painting that have been gradual, almost imperceptible in their progressive stages, and have appeared as his confidence in his power grew, or the appreciation of the public for a particular result increased. 
von Herkomer, Sir Hubert. My School and My Gospel. New York: Doubleday, Page, and Co., 1906.
Last modified 30 May 2007