Thursday, May 2, 2013

Never too early...or too late!

Begin as you mean to carry on....

When I was just beginning to paint, I barely knew Winslow Homer and Andrew Wyeth. What I didn't like were a lot of paintings  to which I couldn't seem to relate, no matter how famous the artist was purported to be.

One evening I was looking at a monograph on Velasquez. I just couldn't get it. I called out to my host, "Hey, Bruce. I don't like Velasquez!

He came over to where I was sitting, with the book on my lap, and looked at me over his half-glasses, saying "Well you just sit there until you do!"

That was my first inkling that the fault might lay with me---horrors!---- not with the painters I "didn't get". 

Remember this the next time you don't get a new artist. And have another look, and another.


The other day, Todd Bonita sent me this photo of his daughter, Kate, working on some plein air finger painting.

Kate, at two-and-a-half is demonstrating that it's never too early to begin. Here she is working on her grisaille, albeit with some extra color, just as I recommend.
(BTW, I intend to suggest to Kate, the next time I see her, that we swap hair).

The next stage for Kate is demonstrated by Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun's Self-Portrait. Still, Kate needs about 20 more years to get to this stage but, by then, she'll have a snazzy cap, too.

The ultimate stage is evidenced in Anna Klumpke's portrait of her friend, the painter Rosa Bonheur. 

I expect Kate will paint about a thousand canvases in between. Let's hope she's as good, and as successful, as Rosa Bonheur.

Keep those darks transparent, Kate!  


  1. Hahaaa...great advice to us all and Kate as well. I had critiqued her plein air finger painting and mentioned the questionable placement of her horizon line, then I told her your comment about keeping the darks transparent...She muttered something about Kandinsky's analytical view of geometrical elements and linear forms. Then she chased a squirrel, fell and cried...I gave her a hug and a popsicle and she hasn't mentioned it since.

  2. I always think the bottom line is, "Did I make the effort?" - I mean, I could have just been lazy and sat and watched TV

    - "To do or not to do, that is the question?"

    I suppose that, afterwards, ultimately, my only question is, "Did I enjoy doing it more than watching TV?" The rest is just news flashes..

  3. Now I get criticized for having my canvas too low on my easel, but I think Kate may be a wee bit high there. The painting looks good though, and it is the result that counts! Go get'um Kate!