Lounging in the Studios: Why Home Artists Should Pay Attention to Drawing
On Friday evening the Western Art association closed its fall exhibit. This display proved so great a success in the matter of attendance that the time of closing was extended until Friday evening.
A few of the pictures shown found purchasers at fair prices. The sale generally was not as large as it would have been had the artists not been quite so prolific, and the work had been better in drawing.
The medal for the best work in oils was not awarded for the reason that the judges, while commending much of the work, found it deficient in drawing. This decision has startled some of the artists not a little, as many of them have conceived the idea, goodness knows why, that as long as their color was fairly good, good drawing was not requisite. This is the great fault with young artists everywhere, who, in many cases, are self taught, or have incompetent teachers. A brush is in their hand before they have made even a passing acquaintance with a stick of charcoal or a pencil. Poor drawing on canvas invariably results in such cases, and the artist is loth to drop his brush and take up the hard grind of a thorough course of drawing. At the Cooper institute and other good art schools the student is not allowed to touch a palette until he has demonstrated his ability to draw well, and the result is shown in the splendid magazine and book illustration from the presses of this country.
The withholding by the judges of the first medal is a lesson from which the artists will, no doubt, derive some benefit. One of the artists, whose work was generally commended, deplored the lack of interest taken in drawing, and predicted that the coming spring exhibition would not be quite so large but would show better work.
It has been suggested that the association place itself more on a footing with others of its kind by hiring rooms for itself and making them a rendezvous for its members. Here, a sketch-club could work, the members posing for one another, thus enabling the workers to make rapid charcoal and pencil sketches. Competitive studies, from previously given subjects, to train and develop the imaginative side of the artists, could be brought to each meeting, the studies to hang on the walls from one meeting to another. This idea was very successfully carried out by the Salmagundi club of New York, which includes among its members the first artists of America. These meetings were held at regular intervals, and came to be looked forward to with great pleasure. A subject would be given, for instance “Death,” and each artist’s idea of the subject was expressed in whatever method he chose for the purpose, in pen and ink, clay, oils or water color. The humorist often found his best opportunities to show his distorted ideas of sentimental subjects, and the sentimentalist fairly reveled in ideas. This plan has been found to stimulate the artistic imagination, as well as productive of much healthy emulation among members of the club.
The colony in the Paxton building is busy as bees working on Christmas gifts. Mrs. Mumaugh, besides attending to her large classes, finds time to work on several good Christmas orders. One of them is a four panel screen, on one of which is a realistic stalk of withered corn, very autumnal in effect. The other panels will have flowers, etc., on.
Miss Teana McLennan on Monday will move her studio to room 906, New York Life building. A. Hospe has secured one of her paintings, a study of peaches, which was numbered 100, at the exhibit. Miss McLennan has, on her easel, another study of peaches ordered by Mrs. W. A. Paxton. She has also a number of other Christmas orders.
Miss Melona Butterfield is busy decorating china bonbon boxes, which are very pretty and becoming quite the rage. She also has under way a set of after-dinner coffees and a salad set, the decoration of the latter being shells and sea week painted on dainty china of new shape, called the “Surprise.”
Miss Kate Pettis has a portrait in water color wash, and some black-and-whites in air brush, which are intended for Christmas gifts.
All the other artists have received orders for holiday gifts, which are not only very pretty, but very appropriate.
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