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Ed Stitt

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Tree Sketch

Here's a sketch I started last Friday 2/24/17 when it was 73 degrees out. I worked on it again Sunday, and posted it soon after.
The art appreciation class I teach has me flying through art history so fast it's a little frustrating. It's hard to convey the tenor and feeling of an epoc so that non-art students "get it", what artists were doing and why. And I have to fly through the greats - each one could be a whole course! - one being Rembrandt. A lifetime of incredible work and pain and life, whittled down to a couple powerpoint slides. Ugh. But seeing his gorgeous little intaglio prints, his fresh ink sketches, his rich joy in expressing life with marks on paper or canvas, was such an inspiration again.
I took some micron pens I bought myself eons ago and went up to the local reservoir and sat down on a stool and looked at this gnarly, twisted tree trunk I've been eyeing for years, and asked how Rembrandt would do it. (Well, he wouldn't have had micron pens, for starters.) But he would have put the life of that tree down on paper with as few economical strokes as possible, then would have elaborated the textures and form with bold, quick, sensitive lines and marks...
So there was my assignment. After I was done, I'd had so much fun and was so excited I thought, "Hey Rembrandt, what do you think?"
I heard a story about Norman Rockwell, the amazing illustrator of a generation past. He told a friend he'd visited Rembrandt's studio, and found himself alone in it. He said out loud, "Hey Rembrandt, I'm Norman Rockwell. What do you think of my work?"
His friend said, "What did he say?"
Rockwell replied, "He was silent."