I’ve been thinking a lot about the painter Robert Henri lately. Robert Henri helped found the Ashcan School of American realism and taught at the Art Student League in New York. The Art Sprit, a compilation of his lectures edited by former student Margery Ryerson, remains just as fresh and timeless today as when it was first published in 1923.
Sadly, I gave up my old paperback copy along with other old favorites to the local library before moving to Berlin, imagining a life free of possessions and in need of no sustenance other than my own free will.
Anyway, one of his thoughts came to mind as I worked on my painting.
“An artist must first of all respond to his subject, he must be filled with emotion toward that subject and then he must make his technique so sincere, so translucent that it may be forgotten, the value of the subject shining through it.”
I don’t know how successful I am at accomplishing this goal throughout my work, but at least I know that I’m striving for something meaningful, and have been engaged mind, body, and soul, (I’m actually getting PT for my arm) in this endeavor. This recent painting captures the initial feeling I had when I looked from the bridge, over the wasteland waiting to be developed, to the riverside condos rising from the debris, still in an unfinished state, yet somehow comically supervising the rubble around it.