Vincent van Gogh wrote:
Mauve [an artist] takes it amiss that I said, "I am an artist," which I won't take back, because it's self-evident that what that word implies is looking for something all the time without ever finding it in full.
It is the opposite of saying, "I know all about it. I've already found it."
As far as I'm concerned, the word means, "I am looking.
I am hunting for it, I am deeply involved."1
Anton Mauve (1838-1888) was a Dutch realist painter, whose wife was van Gogh's cousin.