My on-line diary began in the 1990's from my studio in the North of England. After a lapse of ten years, I resumed posting from my present studio on the Caribbean island of Dominica.

From the far beginning, the intention has been to give an insight into my working methods, and to share the triumphs, trials and tribulations of work-in-progress.

My diary pages are followed by thousands of artists, art students and art lovers in over 50 countries.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Painters’ Bible…

On the shelf above my engineers’ drawing board is a copy of Machinery’s Handbook.  Known for nearly a hundred years as “The Engineers’ Bible” and now in its 28th edition, the definitive tome contains 2420 pages of tables and formula.  When working in my machine shop, I refer to it on a daily basis. 

The painters’ equivalent is Robert Henri’s The Art Spirit and Charles Hawthorne’s Hawthorn on Painting.  First published in 1923 and 1938, they are now available in paperback, by Harper Row and Dover Publications respectively.  Both books consist of collected notes that delve into the why and wherefores of the creative soul.  As such, they are worth more than all the “How To” books put together.

I first came across Charles Hawthorn on the shelf of the Kings Lynn (UK) public library in 1970 and I found Robert Henri in a Boston (USA) Bookshop in 1989.  At one of my exhibitions in England, I met with a lady in her nineties who, as an aspiring art student, had been taught by Robert Henri.

A quote at random from The Art Spirit:

A work of art which inspires us comes from no quibbling or uncertain man.  It is the manifest of a very positive nature…

and from Hawthorn on Painting:

We must train ourselves to keep and preserve our fresh and youthful vision along with all the experience of maturity.  If we do, we’ll be great artists – if we don’t we’ll be academicians…

Buy, borrow or steal a copy of both books.

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