A little gemPosted: January 5, 2016
On the first page of a book I read this: We must teach ourselves to see the beauty of the ugly, to see the beauty of the commonplace. It is so much greater to make much out of little than to make little out of much — better to make a big thing out of a little subject than to make a little thing out of a big one. In every town the one ugliest spot is the railroad station, and yet there is beauty there for anyone who can see it. Don’t strain for a grand subject — anything is painter’s fodder.
This is my kind of book. When I was in Boston a few weeks ago I found it on a rack in an art store. “Hawthorne on Painting” is a tiny book — first published in 1938 and only 91 pages long — but it’s a gem. It’s a compilation of quotes collected by the students of Charles W. Hawthorne, who founded and taught at the Cape Cod School of Art for 31 years. There are sections on landscape, still life, watercolour and working from the model, with a little intro to each. Open any page and read one of the quotes. I guarantee something will ring true for you. For me, it’s like going back over the notes I made while listening to the critiques of my first painting teacher Edgar A. Whitney. Maybe you’ve already heard about this book, or read it, but it’s never been on my radar. I think I will be reading it slowly. There is much to think about here.