On the subject of studies vs. 'pictures':
It is a mistake to make pictures too soon. The nearest a student is likely to a picture is a careful study, and he will be as successful with this, if he makes it for the study of it... Imitation is the highest art; but the highest art requires the ability to imitate as a mere power of representation. The mind must not be hampered in its expression by a lack of knowledge and control of materials, and the painter who is constantly occupied with the problems he should have worked out in his student days, is just so far from being a master. He must have all his means perfectly at his command before he can freely express himself.
Parkhurst, Daniel Burleigh. (1903) The Painter in Oils: A Complete Treatise on the Principles and Technique Necessary to the Painting of Pictures in Oil Colours.