Hawthorne on Painting


Hawthorne, Mrs. Charles W.

Look around and select a subject that you can see painted. That will paint itself. Do the obvious thing before you do the superhuman thing.


It may have been accidental, but you knew enough to let this alone. The good painter is always making use of accidents.


Never try to repeat a success.


Swing a bigger brush — you don’t know what fun you are missing.


For 31 years, Charles Hawthorne spoke in this manner to students of his famous Cape Cod School of Art. The essence of that instruction has been collected from students’ notes and captured in this book, retaining the personal feeling and the sense of on-the-spot inspiration of the original classroom. Even though Hawthorne is addressing himself to specific problems in specific paintings, his comments are so revealing that they will be found applicable a hundred times to your own work.


“I read the entire book in one sitting and was amazed at the content. I can only imagine what it would have been like to study with Hawthorne. This book has Hawthorne’s narratives as well as his critiques…It’s something you can read over and over. I was suprised how much of his advice applies to life in general, not necessarily painting.” — reviewed by Michael.

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