Poetry and Craft

I recently heard David Hockney say, in reference to making art that, “craftsmanship is a must.” From the Renaissance to the Abstract Expressionists art students began their apprenticeship by learning the craft of their chosen media.

“We can teach craft, it’s the poetry you cannot teach. Now we teach poetry and forget craft.” DH

While this is not completely true it is true enough.

A Chinese philosopher proclaimed art is a matter of, “the Hand, the Eye, and the Heart”. Art students and students of art seem to drift through these three metaphors giving credence first to one and then another rarely giving equal credence to all three.

When I look at the latest paintings in watercolor society shows I am more than impressed with the technical skills exhibited. What I most thirst for is the reason behind all the technical skills-more soul.

I know this is not easy as I fight for a balance of ideas and execution in every painting I do. So far the only realization I find is that one of these components is always missing or at least minimized.

Do yourself a favor and ask the question; which of these the hand, the eye, the heart is giving the most attention and which gets the least, in your work? I think you will find an imbalance.


Preakness at Pimlico 30″x40″ oil on canvas


“To The Point” 22″ x 30″ watercolor on paper


This image appears to be similar to “Preakness Pimlico” in shapes and activity. What is absent is that I was only concerned with design and technique – no poetry here. You may not see it but I know the truth.

For complete information concerning my workshop schedule go to:

And I look forward to having you in a class ASAP.



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