Thursday, January 10, 2008

N.C. Wyeth

I just finished reading a huge biography of artist N.C. Wyeth. I am so struck by his lifelong struggle to accept his own work. He painted over 3,000 works and not one of them ever seemed to be good enough. I think most artists have an idea in their mind that is magical and supreme that at once looses its power once translated into solid life. Yet, looking at his work and success it seems he would arrive to at least some symbalance of satisfaction. Lots more going on here in his personal history, I know, to cause this state, but it seems common among artists.

He also had the mindset that illustration was not real art and spend the later part of his life trying to undo what he felt was damaging instruction and career choices. Very sad considering that his work is amazing and has had such great staying power over the decades.

I have become enamoured with his ideal of simplicity and the cultivation of imagination in his life and the lives of his five children. He really avoided all the entertainment and material trappings of the world and chose good books and good music as the supreme means of educating and forming them. Only one did not become a fine artist. I am reminded again to be careful of how I spend my time and come away from the book wishing I had such an upbringing at such a time......

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