Recently I picked up a great out of print book titled, “The Art of the Artist: Theories and Techniques of Art by the Artists Themselves,” compiled by Arthur Zaidenberg. Published in 1951, there are over 40 short articles by mostly art professors. I read this today:

Landscapes by Eugene Ludins, Professor, Art Department, Iowa State University (in 1951), paraphrased.

“Painting landscapes directly and on the spot is tremendous fun. I couldn’t live without it…. Outdoors, the ideas and inventions and colors that couldn’t be dreamed up in a lifetime are waiting and obvious. The paintings don’t always turn out but that is not important, for in the process of looking I have supplied myself with new ammunition and vigor.

“I find it difficult to describe a method of approach that works more than just once. Whenever I believe I have developed such a method I find either myself or the conditions changed enough to ruin my set plan.

“I find I can lick this by starting out with a supply of various shaped canvases, all my materials ready and a completely open mind. 

“Up to a certain point in the painting I am quite literal in putting down the objects and relationships as I see them, or at least those parts that I have decided to use. This is simply making use of these elements which originally excited me enough to draw me to a particular spot. In this phase of the painting the going is fairly calm and controlled, but at a later point — usually when the canvas has been well covered and all the main elements suggested — the real painting and fun begins. Here I let go. The landscape as it exists and as I first saw it no longer interests me — mountains and fields and buildings are moved or wiped out, and the canvas begins to exist as a thing of itself with a life of its own.

“In many cases [though,] I never reach the phase of the painting where I can be independent of the objects as they are.

“When it fails to happen I go home thoroughly beaten, carrying another dud to add to my collection.”

I just love that last sentence! Especially since I had written something along those same lines just this morning:

When working from abstract starts, you have to believe that “something” will appear. It might take a long time, but in the end, a creature almost always appears. Sometimes, rarely, you will cover the whole painting up in frustration and start fresh. (This is scary, because when a piece of art is “pretty good” it’s hard to destroy it. I don’t usually, which means I have a lot of mediocre paintings hanging around. Not bad enough to destroy; not good enough to show or sell.)

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I got permission from one of you yesterday that I could post photos of my new grandson Liam! So here are two, swiped from my son’s facebook page:

Happy Friday, everyone!!