Saturday, May 26, 2018

In the Still Watches of the Night

Color pencil sketch of bowlYou wake up in the middle of the night with an inspiration--an idea that may be gold, or may just seem good when you are semi-conscious. Usually we just forget them, but can pretend in the morning that they were genius.

In 1935, Maxfield Parrish sketched out, both textually and literally, one of these moments in a letter to his son Max, who was trying to earn a little extra money as a carver:
I awoke in the still watches of the night and thought a body might turn an honest penny at some arts and crafts show by buying one of those big maple wood bowls at a hardware store and carve the rim and color it, somewhat like the scheme of color of the pohengles. And he might put on some kind of savagely ornamented handles too. I simply mention it. No, it needn't look anything like the object portrayed below.
At the bottom of the page, Parrish sketched a beautiful bowl in color pencil. Parrish worked the carriage of his typewriter to frame it in the left margin--an artist at work.

This is just one example of some the of materials we had out for a class earlier this week that had been studying Van Gogh's lavishly illustrated letters. The highlight was Andrew Wyeth's blueberries.

To see the Parrish sketch, ask for ML-62, Box 6, Folder 8.

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