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A Joy Ride in a Paint Box - Perspectives No. 187

A Joy Ride in a Paint-Box
Perspectives. No. 187

Painting by Winston Churchill
Cork Trees near Mimizan by Winston Churchill
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   For all the discussion of the ten-thousand-hour rule and the importance of long hours of consistent practice in art-making, we must never forget the invaluable rewards of painting even when taken up later in life. Just as the latest and greatest art equipment can sometimes become an encumbrance and even derail the sudden arrival of inspiration (when only a sketchbook and pencil are needed), so the idea of scaling a mountain of training and practice can discourage a would-be artist from ever stepping on the trail. This should never be! The pleasure of painting is not just for the young or the experienced - anyone can start in at any point in their lives and derive great fulfillment from it.

   Winston Churchill wrote in his book, Painting as a Pastime :

   "But if, on the contrary, you are inclined - late in life though it be - to reconnoitre a foreign sphere of limitless extent, be persuaded that the first quality that is needed is Audacity. There really is no time for the deliberate approach. Two years of drawing-lessons, three years of copying woodcuts, five years of plaster casts - these are for the young. They have enough to bear. And this thorough grounding is for those who, hearing the call in the morning of their days, are able to make painting their paramount lifelong vocation. The truth and beauty of line and form which by the slightest touch or twist of the brush a real artist imparts to every feature of his design must be founded on long, hard, persevering apprenticeship and a practice so habitual that it has become instinctive. We must not be too ambitious. We cannot aspire to masterpieces. We may content ourselves with a joy ride in a paint-box. And for this Audacity is the only ticket."

   It may be true that Churchill’s paintings were not anything like the masterpieces he studied and perhaps hoped to emulate. His great contribution to painting was through his writing which is filled with his infectious enthusiasm and keen mind for observation. This modest little book is full of wonderful encouragements and personal discoveries as his world opened up to him through his experiences with his little portable paint-box:

   “Inexpensive independence, a mobile and perennial pleasure apparatus, new mental food and exercise, the old harmonies and symmetries in an entirely different language, an added interest to every common scene, an occupation for every idle hour, an unceasing voyage of entrancing discovery - these are high prizes.”

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Image is used in accordance with fair use principles.

 

 

 

 

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Photograph of John Hulsey and Ann Trusty in Glacier National Park
We are artists, authors and teachers with over 40 years of experience in painting the world's beautiful places. We created The Artist's Road in order to share our knowledge and experiences with you, and create a community of like-minded individuals.  You can learn more about us and see our original paintings by clicking on the links below.
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