A Keeper--One of a Kind
This book contains a fascinating biography of the late and legendary Edgar Whitney and his amazing teachings that made thousands of students flock to take his lessons. Although he was not college educated, he is known to be extremely well-read, and would often incorporate the philosophy he gained from his readings into his teaching methods. He had a unique method of teaching and helping his students to become their own teachers.
The book begins with an introductory chapter by Ron Ranson, then Section One explains who exactly Edgar Whitney was, "the pep talk" chapter, which includes the quote from Whitney--"If, when facing the paper, you say to yourself, "I'm an artist", you haven't a clue as to what to do!...If, however, you say, "I'm an entertainer, a shapemaker and an expressive symbol collector," you know the task ahead and how to proceed."..this was Ed's initial message in his pep talk on the very first day of his workshop..." You will just have to read the rest of this book, as there is so much more of this enlightening teaching from Whitney that his students vividly recall.
The next chapter is about the equipment Edgar used, then on to "The Demo" chapter, where it is explained that Whitney taught:"Expression shows that you have the intelligence to see the truth and the wit to devise a symbol for it...I'm trying to free you! Look long enough to understand the essence--then express it. What spoils everything is that second and third look. That's imitation, not creation." (p. 16.).
Elements of Design is the next chapter, then "Painting the Landscape" and how Whitney taught his students to approach it.--example: "Decide the essence of a thing--then explain it with fewest possible strokes."..."Make your point of interest a different distance from all four edges.".."If it looks right when it's wet, then it's wrong!".."When nature's right, use her, when she's wrong, spit in her eye!"
The next chapter is on drawing.
SECTION TWO of this wonderful book is all about "Ed's Disciples and Their Work"
Chapters include artists such Skip Lawrence, Cheng-Khee Chee, Tony Couch, Robert Conlan, Judi Wagner, Frank Webb, Joan Rudman, Barbara Nechis, Betty Lou Schlemm, Henry Fukuhara, Joan Ashley Rothermel, Tony van Hasselt. Each chapter is filled with their mesmerizing work, and each artist explains the influence Whitney had on their art and the memories of his classes. As one of the artists explains, Whitney taught him how to be his own teacher.
This book is a one-of a kind, filled with fascinating insights into what makes a great painting, and Whitneys unique methods of getting his students to become true artists.
It' s a book you will want to keep.