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puttering oblivion; promises to gouge

      “Go to nature!” rejoins Keith abruptly; whereon she burst into tears. They are transient, however, and Keith, knowing it, sweeps her rootless tree into oblivion only to replace it with a hoary monarch of countless ages.
      “All very well to copy some,” he continues, “but this pittery puttering won’t do, Bertha! You’ve simply got to go to nature. You’ve got to get out and gouge!
      Bertha promises to gouge. “Your sky isn’t bad!” he observes, amelioratingly, “but your clouds are boiled potatoes. Smash in your clouds — this way! Use a big brush — work largely! Keep everything together! See things as a whole!
      As he approaches my easel I feel that I have nothing to say why sentence of death should not be pronounced upon me for imposing on the helpless cattle of my landscape unpalatable soapiness of grazing land.
      “What is that?” Keith has pounced into the middle of my canvas.

ex Emily P. B. Hay, William Keith as Prophet Painter (San Francisco: Paul Elder, 1916) : 18 : link
same (U California) and Getty Research Institute copies via hathitrust : link

  1. William Keith (1838-1911) wikipedia : link
  2. Mary McHenry Keith (1855-1947), Keith’s second wife, lawyer and social justice advocate who was especially known for her work in the woman suffrage and animal rights movements. wikipedia : link
  3. Emily Parkin Babcock Hay (1869-)

6 January 2024