Friday Inspiration: Thomas Hart Benton


Are you a fan of Thomas Hart Benton?

I am.

{People of Chilmark - 1920}

It started when my family moved to Columbia, Mo. I was going into the 6th grade. While living in Missouri, I visited the state capitol in Jefferson City and first encountered the art of Thomas Hart Benton(THB). At the time I did not understand it, but I was drawn in and riveted by his use of colors - a rainbow of colors, figures, and features…

Yesterday while framing some work for an upcoming show, I had the fantastic documentaryabout his life and work playing in the background. I wanted to share a bit of it with you…

For more than seventy years he painted
its cities and small towns, its farms and backwoods.
He painted its people, too: faith healers and lovers,
politicians and soda jerks, farmers and movie stars

Watch Earl Bennent on Benton's work on PBS. See more from Ken Burns.

He was trained at the Art Institute of Chicago, then went to Paris to study, spending hours in the Louvre and cutting the classes he was there for. Then he returned to New York City.  While in NYC, he tried just about every painting style and school, dabbled in politics, and overall stirred things up.

THB said he spent 15 years exploring ...

"...rocked by every wave that came along,
I floundered without a compass in every direction..."

{Self- Portrait with Rita - 1922}

He often said that the artis's life was the best kind of life, if you could get through the first forty years...

My favorite quote of his is:

"The only way an artist can personally fail, is to quit"

So my friends, NEVER quit, always keep at it, think about the grand design, and dedicate your life blood to the craft of art.