Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sketch Hunters

It always serves to be mindful of what an odd, rare and noble thing we are privileged to do in this group, in painting from life. For it is odd to stand in public, paint besmattered, making messes of canvas. It is rare, this group of artists--how rare it is hard to overestimate. And it is noble--sometimes foolish, but always noble--to proclaim one's love by means of art.

Here is how Robert Henri put it in The Art Spirit:

The sketch hunter has delightful days of drifting about among people, in and out of the city, going anywhere, everywhere, stopping as long as he likes--no need to reach any point, moving in any direction following the call of interests. He moves through life as he finds it, not passing negligently the things he loves, but stopping to know them, and to note them down in the shorthand of his sketch-book, a box of oils with a few small panels, the fit of his pocket, or on his drawing pad. Like any hunter he hits or misses. He is looking for what he loves, he tries to capture it. It's found anywhere, everywhere. Those who are not hunters do not see these things. The hunter is learning to see and to understand--to enjoy.
(One of Henri's sketches is reproduced above, the 8 x 10" painting called "Sailing.")


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