New Ink: Winston Churchill

In lieu of any pertinent personal writing, here are a few musings from Winston Churchill’s Painting As A Pastime, a slim book that is saving my sanity.


Concerning the overwhelming need to read, read, read and the daily inability to satiate:

“What shall I do with all my books?” was the question; and the answer, “Read them,” sobered the questioner. But if you cannot read them, at any rate handle them and, as it were, fondle them. Peer into them. Let them fall open where they will. Read on from the first sentence that arrests the eye. Then turn to another. Make a voyage of discovery, taking soundings of uncharted seas. Set them back on their shelves with your own hands. Arrange them on your own plan, so that if you do not know what is in them, you at least know where they are. If they cannot be your friends, let them at any rate be your acquaintances. If they cannot enter the circle of your life, do not deny them at least a nod of recognition.

Concerning it’s never too late (and silencing the inner critic):

To have reached the age of forty without ever handling a brush or fiddling with a pencil, to have regarded with mature eye the painting of pictures of any kind as a mystery, to have stood agape before the chalk of the pavement artist, and then suddenly to find oneself plunged in the middle of a new and intense form of interest and action with paints and palettes and canvases, and not to be discouraged by results, is an astonishing and enriching experience. [emphasis added]

Concerning learning how to and to what one pays attention:

There is no better exercise for the would-be artist than to study and devour a picture, and then, without looking at it again, to attempt the next day to reproduce it. Nothing can more exactly measure the progress both of observation and memory.

Recent reading list:

  • Weather of Words Mark Strand
  • A Book of Silence Sara Maitland
  • Moonwalking with Einstein Joshua Foer
  • Wherever you go, there you are Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • On Looking Alexandra Horowitz

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