I have again picked up Robert Henri's book "The Art Spirit" this week. In what I read the first night he articulated the feelings I have been trying to express about my lack of enjoyment in the Portrait/figure painting class I was taking and my observations about how the same people take this class (and other classes). Here is what the master says:
"I knew men who were students in the Academie Julian in Paris, where I studied in 1888, thirteen years ago. I visited the Academie this year (1901) and found some of the same students still there, repeating the same exercises, and doing nearly as good as they did 13 years ago.
"At almost any time in these 13 years they have had technical ability enough to produce masterpieces. many of them are more facile in their trade of copying the model, and they make fewer mistakes and imperfections of literal drawing and proportion than do some of the greatest master of art.
"These students have become masters of the trade of drawing, as some others have become masters of their grammars. And like so many of the latter, jugglers of words, having nothing worthwhile to say, they remain little else than clever jugglers of the brush."
The next post or so, will quote from another book on the answer I found to answer a friend when I asked of them why are they still taking this class, on and off, for more than 20 years.