The Art Spirit

I’m a daydreamer, when I read my mind tends to wander a lot. I haven’t finished many books in my life, I tend to start to write my own lines after a few pages into a book. I chose The Art Spirit as the first book in my inspiration series, for the simple reason that it was the first book I’ve ever finished reading from cover to cover. It spoke to my heart. I was moved in ways I can’t describe with words. Anyone aspiring to create something, anything of value should have a copy of this book. Robert Henri was an American painter, a visionary artist. Through his use of words and the delivery of his ideas, shared with his students’, we can see the greatness of the man himself. Through his paintings, we can admire his thoughtfulness, which paved the way for many artists. 

I will copy paste passages from the book instead of writing a review.

The book is divided into 2 sections. The first half of the book shares the building blocks of creation. The second part is more practical, the focus being colors and techniques, used in a drawing.

I'm no expert when it comes to evaluating art. To tell you the truth, I don't even think about the techniques used to present a thought, an idea, a concept, etc. I don't have the vocabulary to exquisitely describe an art piece. Thus far, whatever that moved my heart has been my kind of art. Whenever I saw any kind of creation, and everything else stopped for a moment, my core knew it to be true art. In a moment of realization; my hair raises all over my body, my curiosity is challenged. Art isn't a thing to be measured, to be customized after a certain taste. Art when pure and full of intentions never needs to be explained. 

I will leave a few passages that might grab your attention and challenge your curiosity, all from the first part of the book. There will be a link at the bottom where you can buy a copy of this incredible book.


              Robert Henri (1865–1929)


“Notes, Articles, Fragments of Letters and Talks to Students, Bearing on the Concept and Technique of Picture Making, the Study of Art Generally, and on Appreciation.” - The art spirit


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Passage 1

“There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to see beyond the usual. Such are the moments of our greatest happiness. Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom. If one could but recall his vision by some sort of sign. It was in this hope that the arts were invented. Sign-posts on the way to what may be. Sign-posts toward greater knowledge.”

— Robert Henri, The art spirit


Passage 2

 “Art when really understood is the province of every human being. It is simply a question of doing things, anything, well. It is not an outside, extra thing. When the artist is alive in any person, whatever his kind of work may be, he becomes an inventive, searching, daring, self-expressing creature. He becomes interesting to other people. He disturbs, upsets, enlightens, and he opens ways for a better understanding. Where those who are not artists are trying to close the book, he opens it, shows there are still more pages possible.” - Robert Henri, The art spirit



Passage 3

“For an artist to be interesting to us he must have been interesting to himself. He must have been capable of intense feeling, and capable of profound contemplation. He who has contemplated has met with himself, is in a state to see into the realities beyond the surfaces of his subject. Nature reveals to him, and, seeing and feeling intensely, he paints, and whether he wills it or not each brush stroke is an exact record of such as he was at the exact moment the stroke was made. ” - Robert Henri, The art spirit


Passage 4

“Don’t worry about the rejections. Everybody that’s good has gone through it. Don’t let it matter if your works are not “accepted” at once. The better or more personal you are the less likely they are of acceptance. Just remember that the object of painting pictures is not simply to get them in exhibitions. It is all very fine to have your pictures hung, but you are painting for yourself, not for the jury. I had many years of rejections. Do some great work, Son! Don’t try to paint good landscapes. Try to paint canvases that will show how interesting landscape looks to you—your pleasure in the thing. Wit.” - Robert Henri, The art spirit

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