The Art Spirit

Years and years ago, I owned and devoured a book by Robert Henri called The Art Spirit. I went through a very long slump creatively - and a few years ago prior to moving I sold some books on Amazon that I didn't think I needed. That book was out of print at the time and I got a pretty penny for my copy. I was so surprised to see it on the shelf at Borders Books last week. I skimmed through it and fell on this passage which showed me I am meant to own this book (and keep it through dry times).

From page 108 -

"Keep your old work. You did it. There are virtues and there are faults in it for you to study. You can learn more from yourself than you can anyone else. (emphasis mine)..."

There's more, but I thought this was enough of a nugget of truth to really think about. It's good to expose yourself to other artist's work. Sometimes seeing another person's work will inspire you to try something you might not have. But there is real value in looking at your old pieces, even the ones you think are horrible. Usually there's some wonderful thing in every piece of work, and the lesson is to do that wonderful thing on purpose.


Gerushia's New World said...

Dixie: this is so true. I force myself to look at my old pieces sometimes. I have to do it privately because sometimes I find myself feeling a little embarrassed. But ultimately, I always learn something from my old works.

Lately, I've been keeping my original collages and listing only prints.

Garden Painter Art

MaryAnn said...

You are so right! Things I thought were horrible have some redeeming qualities or lessons after being sent into exile for awhile.

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden