Hawthorne on Painting

I’m not terribly good about reading non fiction and I’ve got quite a backlog of books I’ve bought on art just waiting for me to pick them up, so I finally did with this slim volume. Charles Hawthorne isn’t a painter that I’m super familiar with, but Hawthorne on Painting was recommended by Liz Steel and so I picked it up, hoping for some helpful thoughts.

I wasn’t disappointed. The book is made up of advice he gave to students as he taught along with notes people must have taken as he spoke about painting. His wife and son put it together into sections based on subject matter. It’s an easy read, but filled with a lot of profound things about use of color, how to see your subject matter, and how to think about approaching drawing and painting. His emphasis on color and spots of color also fits in perfectly with the watercolor class I’ve been taking by Liz Steel, so it was great to read it as I went through the class.

If you’re interested in thinking more about making your own art, how you see the world while doing it, and some really practical advice on painting, I highly recommend it.

You’ll be surprised to see how little drawing you need if you make the spot of color and approximate the shape—then the drawing is more real and you won’t need the kind you learn indoors. (p 29)

Funny thing about painting, you don’t know what makes it right but you know when it’s wrong. (p 39)