Monday, March 10, 2008

Nonfiction Monday: The Art Spirit

The Art Spirit by painter Robert Henri
is probably not a book you're going to read straight through.
After all, its title page describes the contents as:

Notes, Articles, Fragments of Letters and Talks to Students,
Bearing on the Concept and Technique of Picture Making,
the Study of Art Generally,
and on Appreciation

But it's perfect for dipping into when you need a jolt of wisdom and a fresh way of looking at whatever it is that you're wrestling with.

"Sometimes we do grip the concert in a human head, and so hold it that in a way, we get a record of it into paint, but the vision and expressing of one day will not do for the next.

Today must not be a souvenir of yesterday, and so the struggle is everlasting. Who am I today? What do I see today? How shall I use what I know, and how shall I avoid being victim of what I know? Life is not repetition. "

I don't know about you, but reading that is both encouraging and frightening. Each day stands new. Artistically, you are neither bound by nor excused by what you've done before. Art is invention. Beauty is discovered. Life is not repetition.

The Nonfiction Monday roundup is here.


  1. This one is in my read and re-read stack. Always good for a little dose of inspiration.

  2. Definitely one of my favorites!

  3. I followed that book link and see Henri was considered the leader of the Ashcan School movement in art, which I had to look up. But that's just to say: Huh. You learn something new every day. Edward Hopper (also a student of Henri's) was later lumped into that category, too (here's my source, which I am assuming is accurate).

    I did not know that. I love Hopper (and don't you, too, Sara? Didn't you see an exhibit recently, which makes me so jealous?)

  4. Today must not be a souvenir of yesterday . . . Life is not a repetition.

    That's a pretty high standard, and a pretty great thing to shoot for.

  5. How cool! I'll have to check this one out.


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