The loss of an artist and teacher from childhood has caused me to
reflect upon not only her life and work, but also those lessons that she taught
me. The myriad distractions of daily life, from the constant need to earn money
for survival to the many mundane chores and tasks required to keep it all going
can combine at times to make us temporarily lose our focus in art-making.
Remembering the passion a teacher found in fine art painting and how she worked to
instill that passion in her students has helped to reconnect me with the roots
of my own passion for art-making.
|Early Morning, Venice by Robert Henri, 1891, oil on canvas.
Here is a favorite quote from a well-known book she
first introduced me to, The Art Spirit
, by Robert Henri:
moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to see beyond
the usual. Such are the moments of our greatest happiness. Such are the moments
of our greatest wisdom. If one could but recall his vision by some sort of
sign. It was in this hope that the arts were invented. Sign-posts on the
way to what may be. Sign-posts toward greater knowledge."
Henri was a wonderfully skilled artist and teacher,
and The Art Spirit is filled with inspiring quotes that reach out to us
today with words of encouragement and focus.
"Art cannot be
separated from life. It is the expression of the greatest need of which life is
capable, and we value art not because of the skilled product, but because of
its revelation of a life's experience." --Robert Henri
We are thankful to have had good teachers and we are
reminded now that the greatest lessons they taught us have the power to
instruct and encourage us throughout our lives. We believe that Henri was
correct in pointing out that our lives as artists are our art. As such, we must
keep in mind that the road toward greater knowledge is a life-long one, and we
must remember to look for those sign-posts left for us by our teachers and
other artists which help to keep us on our artistic path.
Please join us on The
Artist's Road for more articles, interviews and
step-by-step painting demonstrations.
--John and Ann