Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cape Cod School of Art

I'm not quite sure how I came across the Cape Cod School of Art, but I'm glad I did.

From Wikipedia:

The Cape Cod School of Art was the first outdoor school of figure painting in America; it was started by Charles Webster Hawthorne in Provincetown, Massachusetts in 1898.

The studio building off Miller Hill Road is on the List of Nationally Registered Historic Places.

I've promised myself to get out to Ptown and visit the studio, probably this fall after all the tourists pull out. In the meantime, I've started collecting books by the teachers who worked that studio.

A lovely little book, Hawthorne on Painting, is a collection of notes of the students of Charles Webster Hawthorne, compiled by his wife, J. C. Hawthorne.

Quoting the first paragraph of the Introduction:

"Anything under the sun is beautiful if you have the vision--it is the seeing of the thing that makes it so.The world is waiting for men with vision--it is not interested in mere pictures. What people subconsciously are interested in is the expression of beauty, something that helps them through the humdrum day, something that shocks them out of themselves and something that makes them believe in the beauty and the glory of human existence."

Charles Hawthorne “Artist in Plein Air” 1910


  1. I adore the work of Charles Hawthorne along with William Merritt Chase, Frank Benson, Edmund Tarbell, and of course the brilliant Childe Hassam; also John Twachtman, Willard Metcalf and J.Alden Weir... I could write a 100 page epistle on this subject!
    If you are interested in the painting style of Charles Hawthorne may I recommend the book "Painting the Impressionist Landscape" by Lois Griffel. She was a student of and the successor to Henry Hensche (who had himself succeeded Hawthorne) as the head of the Cape Cod School of Art.
    Also another small volume of inspiration to explore is "The Art Spirit" by Robert Henri.
    One thing I hope to return to when I have my own studio in the new house is large scale landscape painting on canvas - just thumbing through my books to double check titles for you for this comment has me longing to pick up my brushes again!
    ~ gretchen

  2. Ah, I have struck a resonance! I had Lois's book waiting in my Amazon cart and just added Susan Sarbach's before checking out. I already have "The Art Spirit" on my Droid X and Kindle.

    "Painting the Impressionist Watercolor" by Lee Boynton and Linda Gottlieb came in earlier this week. I expect to post out on some of this book's exercises.

    I am quite all over the place lately! Projects just started or even not yet underway are being held back with new interests. I simply cannot keep up with all the exciting subjects and materials. Love it! :-)