Painting as a Pastime
by Bill Hudson
This past September I was walking along the waterfront in Portland, Maine when I stopped at a side walk display of photography by a local artist. The photographs were great and the artist, a man about my age, was both memorable in his demeanor and fun to talk with. We had a lot in common and talked about our past professional lives and the transition to our current lives which are filled with art as an income-producing hobby. As I was leaving, he suggested I read the book Painting as a Pastime by Winston Churchill.
I took his recommendation and even though I'm a slow reader, I read this ninety-one page, large-print essay/book in about one hour. And I'm better for it. Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965) was a needed leader with vision, purpose, and ability in a time of world crisis. He was a scholar, historian, soldier, and gifted orator. At the age of 40, he began the hobby of oil painting which he continued for the next 48 years producing over five hundred paintings. He regarded painting as a necessary aversion that freed his mind from constant worry and fixation on world problems.
In his book, Churchill eloquently develops the following conclusions:
"The cultivation of a hobby or new form of interest is of first importance to a public man."
"The growth of alternative mental interests is a long process ... and should be started early."
"Painting came to his rescue in a most trying time."
Unlike many other hobbies or interests, "painting is a friend who makes no undue demands, excites to no exhausting pursuits, keeps faithful pace even with feeble steps, and holds her canvas as a screen between us and the envious eyes of Time or the surly advance of Decrepitude."
"Happy are the painters, for they shall not be lonely. Light and colour, peace and hope, will keep them company to the end."
"This heightened sense of observation of Nature is one of the chief delights that have come to me through trying to paint. Nothing will make one observe more quickly or more thoroughly than having to face the difficulty of representing the thing observed."
I think Winston Churchill best summed up his love and commitment to art by saying, "When I get to heaven I mean to spend a considerable portion of my first million years in painting, and so get to the bottom of the subject."
from Ron Harrison
I hate using masking fluid. It's messy, destructive, and really hard to use to define objects. Awhile ago I was talking to my friend Louis Stephen Gadal, an excellent marine watercolor artist, who told me he uses Japanese Washi tape as a mask. It is a low tack tape that you can see through. Louis, who is now the leader of the International Society of Marine Painters, sent me a roll from his diminishing supply. It's a little bit less than one half-inch wide. In using it I determine what needs to be masked and then put the tape over the area. Because I can see through it, I then use my X-Acto knife to cut away the areas that don't need to be masked. It's easy to work with because it is low-tack. As a marine artist I found this to be an easy way to preserve sailboat masts as seen in the distance. One caution: Washi tape is used in a big way for scrap booking enthusiasts and now comes in solid colors with images printed on it. A small amount is made in plain see-through colors. This is the kind you want.
Since working with transparent Washi tape, I found that Scotch now makes convenient � inch wide rolls of "Matte Finish Removable Tape." This works equally well and is also sold at Staples.
|Francis Enters the Severn River Sortie Mediterranean in 1808|
Severn River Sortie
|Lining Up For A Drink: the USS Dahlgren Waits Her Turn |
Reference Ron's website: www.ronharrisonart.com
Ron Harrison paints and teaches watercolor in the historic maritime city of Salem, Massachusetts. Largely self-taught, he is mainly a marine artist and has won BOS awards in Florida, Massachusetts, NH and Maine. In addition to his marine work he does portraits of people, planes and boats. Ron also had a career in aviation magazine publishing and served 24 years in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a Senior Chief Petty Officer.
Recent Paintings by Bill Hudson
Low Tide in Lubec
Watercolor & Casein, 15" x 22"
A Young Man's Destiny
Watercolor & Casein, 15" x 22"
Watercolor & Casein, 9" x 12"
Upcoming Events (for Bill Hudson)
April 24, 2015 "Evening with the Artists" Redlands Community Hospital Foundation,
5:30 - 7:30 pm, Stan and Ellen Weisser Education Pavilion
June 20 & 21, 2015 La Jolla Art Show
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