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Painting As a Pastime
ISBN 1929154119 / 9781929154111 / 1-929154-11-9
Publisher Levenger Pr
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Unbeknownst to many, Winston Churchill was an accomplished artist, producing around 500 canvases and exhibiting at the British Royal Academy. But if he came to painting naturally, he didn't come to it early: Churchill first picked up a paintbrush at age 40 during a career ebb. A failed naval attack in the Dardanelles occurred on Churchill's watch as First Lord of the Admiralty during WWI, resulting in his being banished to a political-backwater post. It was June of 1918, and in the garden of the Churchills' English country house, Winston's sister-in-law was painting. Seeing his interest, she pressed her young son's paint-box on Winston and urged him to try. Shortly thereafter his friend Hazel Lavery, an accomplished artist, taught him how to address a blank canvas in a marvelous moment that Churchill relays in this book. For the next five decades, Winston Churchill was seldom without his paints and never without his Muse. Painting relaxed him, consoled him, sustained him, rejuvenated him. He painted on battlefields and on holiday, and often at his estate at Chartwell. WWII brought a hiatus, but even then he managed to paint one canvas when he and FDR met in North Africa, in January 1943. His writing won the Nobel Prize, but painting won his heart. And who can say what the world owes, indirectly, to the sustenance Churchill took from art. "Dare to be great: begin," advised Horace. For Churchill and painting, it was much this way. And once begun, "Audacity is the only ticket," he said. A century later Churchill's painterly advice still resonates - perhaps more strongly than ever. Such audacity reassures us that it is never too late to open our heart to a passion that has knocked quietly and patiently at our door. Some would call this a second wind; others might see it as a fresh start. Whatever your latent passion, may Painting as a Pastime inspire you to pursue it. May your journey be, as Sir Winston said, like "a joy ride in a paint-box." [via]
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