What is Beauty?

“No thing is beautiful. All things await the sensitive and imaginative mind that may be aroused to pleasurable emotion at sight of them. This is beauty.”–Robert Henri
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Reading Henri’s Art Spirit again, a thing I’ve done every now and then over the past 30 years or so, I came upon the above remark, which I find to be a significant truth. Later, Henri goes on to say that it is useless for the student to do endless practice drawings to perfect technique if he cannot find something in the subject that excites him. He’s right–how dull that is! And yet, there are times when I pick a subject by default–I want to draw and there is a person sitting nearby–and so I begin, but in the process of observing and trying to make the drawing, I fall for the subject a bit. The man at the bottom of the page (center) was like that; he was just there and sitting still, so I had a go. I never did get him right, and I feel a little regret about that, even if it’s a nice drawing. Maybe my fondness is what makes the drawing work. I don’t know. It’s interesting to think about.

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  1. Pingback: Drawing from Downton Abbey - MKSolomon

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