Charles W. Hawthorne "First Mate"

I was a student at Washington University School of Fine Art from 1957 to 1961. I spent a lot of time in the wonderful art library     in Bixby , the art school building. I found a  little book in the library “Hawthorne on Painting” which was a  collection from  students’ notes by Mrs. Charles W. Hawthorne . Charles W. Hawthorne (1872-1930) was a teacher and founder of the  Cape  Cod  School of Art. This book with 91 pages made a dramatic change in my approach to painting. Below are some of his  thoughts on painting from this book.

“Anything under the sun is beautiful if you have vision-it is the seeing of the thing that makes it so.”

“the mechanics of putting one spot of color next to another – the fundamental thing”

“Keep refining the big spots. The only way to paint a head is to paint the way the colors come one against another-color spots of flesh in air.”

“The more you know about putting big spots of color together sympathetically the less detail is needed.”

John Dyess painting- Still life with Grapefruit (1960)

John Dyess-model study of a girl in black tights (1960)

These are two paintings I created while I was a student at Washington University using spots of color.

  1. Tim Carson says:

    In the same way, I suppose, our emotional/intellectual/spiritual life depends on getting the big colors right; if so, the rest of the detail falls more easily into place …

  2. My painting instructors in art school used to say I was drawing with the paint brush and not really painting. Wish I had read this book.

    Carolyn Dyess

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