Where is the best place to start this conversation?

(Written October, 2023)  I have been reading the full collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Miniatures. This includes around 800 individual artists dated  1954. I was not writing anything about the oils painting masters until I read the one on The 3 American Water Colorists, Homer, Eakins, and Sargent.

John Singer Sargent way of thinking really hit me. It might actually be very close to my process in designing architecture even though he is a great painter.

Here are a few passages I thought pertinent to this discussion.

  • He was pressed to define what he considered the essential, the most important quality in painting, but he replied like one who had given little thought to distinctions or reasoning of this kind. When pushed further he said as quick as a flash “the rare thing is to find a painter who knows a good thing when he sees it! It is a gift to be able to see the beauties of nature. You must not paint everything you see. You must wait, and wait patiently until the exceptional, the wonderful effect or aspect comes. Then, if you have sense enough to see it – well, that is  all there is to it.”
  • The power to see, to comprehend the exceptional qualities exiting in nature, is a gift possessed by few men. It is the first and highest requisite in the pursuit of art. This is a constant attitude toward art. To select with extreme care and to get to the truth of nature, direct from nature, was his gospel.
  • Of equal importance was his sense of the value of simplicity. Building upon the power to delineate very detail with precision. Separate the character from the non-essential. This is a quality of the mind.
  • He naturally sees everything at once with its envelope of light and air. He sees not in lines, but in masses, in gross, broad masses. Things come already modeled to his eye.
  • He is a good man and a good citizen.
  • The brilliant color and carefree life once more inspired him.

When asked how I or why I made design decisions my go to line was that the site itself, underlying my clients wants and needs, government restrictions, input from all consultants lock in what I see as the best resolution for a design. It just feels right. The fast the better it comes out. Designs are intentional but come from my heart and experience. I do not usually fight for the right solution. Clients usually go with my very first options. 

So, you can see why this description of John Singer Sargent way of painting really rang true to me.


Society is having a great issue with everyone’s ability to communicate with each other. Historically, people used to stay in one place or not far off. As the industrial revolution, mass transit systems, and now with the IT world people move fast and often. Within a community each group knows what ones social method of communicating represents. Now it is hard to know what the social norms are in respect to each other’s communications. Each written or verbal word, gestures, cultural aspects, political and religious view point needs to be understood by all. There has been no time to assimilate different understandings which is affecting the peace and stability of society as a whole.

Where is the best place to start this conversation?


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