Boundless inspiration. It’s not always available. That’s why art books and museums are so valuable. In my very earliest days as a carver, my mentor Warburton insisted that I regularly go to galleries and museums. Admittedly he may have wanted to get me out of the studio to where I would be someone else’s nuisance.
I always took sketching materials when I went. Not because I was so skillful at what I rendered, but because we did not have pocket phones with cameras. Well, we did not have pocket phones come to think of it. Then too many museums forbade any photography by visitors. If you needed a rendering, you drew it.
Warburton had an extensive art library to which I received limited access. Rare volumes were off-limits, but everything else was open to me. The library was several hundred of books, portfolios, pamphlets binders and loose material that begged for cataloging. Sometimes you dug for items in the piles. As a result, you frequently went on artistic detours as you found interesting diversions that related not at all to what you needed.
I had been fortunate to grow up in New York City, which still had free museums. I was no stranger to losing myself in exhibits. Warburton would send me away to the Walters or other locations with goals. Not exclusive goals, but purposeful enough a directive that I had to prepare for the inquisition when I returned.
I saw no particular discipline in Warburton’s directives. As in all things, he wisely refused to be my master. But, staying at a distance as my mentor allowed me to grow.
Never thinking of these influences over the years, my collection of books has grown. I haunt museums and scour the internet.
There are only a few points of contact where my collection overlaps with Warburton’s; we have different interests. But there are several hundred volumes, portfolios, pamphlets, booklets, binders and loose piles that make inspiration easier to find.


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