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:
“There are 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.
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–John and Ann