A Mission Statement

Inspiration can come from the most unlikely sources.

Lila was after me about creating a “mission shot_1391095804356statement” for Hartshorn Studios and I was avoiding it because it felt like old business school blah blah.

Then I was drifting through an anthology of Edgar Allan Poe’s works and came upon this description of Poe’ philosophy….and I was transfixed….here were the words that spoke not only to me, but for me. And suddenly mission statements made sense:

Note: interchange “art” and  “artist” for “poetry” and “poet”.

“The poet’s right – in fact, his duty – is herbert-james-draperto dream, to provide a place, a habitat, for the goddesses, the dryads, the naiads, the Elfin, and thereby conduct the reader to a realm of Beauty. To present Beauty for its own sake, without other justification. To take us to a sphere of loveliness. For Poe, this was, one might say, a religion: he felt that there is a realm of being beyond the worldly domain in which we prosaically live: and that poetry is the means by which we can momentarily reach it. It is through the poem, or through the music that eternity could be glimpsed”.                  Wilber S. Scott on Edgar Allan Poe

Homage to William Draper

images73R503W8  Greek/Roman mythology was one of my first loves in reading…Bulfinch’s Mythology. By high school I was reading Ovid, Cicero and Virgil in latin class. And so my fascination with mythological themes in Victorian Era art. Alma-Tadema, Bouguerau,  Leighton were the most celebrated. But my favorite was Herbert James Draper (1863-1920)the-kelpie


Studying and copying his techniques was my access to learning to paint. So it is fitting that I am turning back to his example in preparing some new compositions of my own. I think my next figure painting will be an homage to Draper.

Don’t you love the way Draper’s figures tend to “drape” over rocks?




The Humility of the Artist

I have the good fortune of selling a good part of what I paint…be it a portrait, figure study or abstract…but I don’t even put the piece on the wall unless I love it. There are dry spells of sales interspersed with “can’t paint ’em fast enough.” Yet the hard sell doesn’t get employed at Hartshorn Studios and clients aren’t chased and haggled with.

Read the best description below of why passion, patience and humility are an artist’s best attributes for the long and happy career…..

“The humility of the artist” by Seth Godin

It seems arrogant to say, “perhaps this isn’t for you.”

When the critic pans your work, or the prospect hears your offer but doesn’t buy, the artist responds, “that’s okay, it’s not for you.” She doesn’t wheedle or flip-flop or go into high pressure mode. She treats different people differently, understands that she is working to delight the weird, not please the masses, and walks away.

Isn’t that arrogant?

No. It’s arrogant to assume that you’ve made something so extraordinary that everyone everywhere should embrace it. Our best work can’t possibly appeal to the average masses, only our average work can.

Finding the humility to happily walk away from those that don’t get it unlocks our ability to do great work.

Posted by Seth Godin on January 19, 2014