Letter to ARC

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Letter to ARC


Published before 2005

Mr. Fred Ross, Chairman
The Art Renewal Center
Somewhere, The World

Dear Mr. Ross:

We recently exchanged some email correspondence, after which I realized that I failed to express my deep gratitude for the hand you have had in igniting and guiding my passion for fine art. Your work has helped to transform me from a passive observer to an enthusiastic student and will, I hope, have helped motivate me to become a disciplined maker of works of great beauty.

As I recently wrote to Barbara Newington, it wasn’t until I discovered your web site and the Newington Cropsey Foundation web site that I realized that there is an active community of people who share my interests in the representational skills and ingenious composition that define the classical realist aesthetic. Until then, I had assumed that the technical principles of the aesthetic had simply been lost sometime around the turn of the twentieth century. What a delight it was to find that the knowledge has been preserved by a small remnant of counter-cultural artists up to this day. Your effort to communicate this knowledge, not to mention the stupendous collection of images you have assembled, has been tremendously helpful. Not to put too fine a point on it: I believe your commitment to truth, beauty and goodness in art will help to elevate many future generations from the brutish nature to which humanity too easily succumbs.

I am now reviewing the work of several of the painters referenced in your atelier database, in preparation for a series of rigorous classical studies in drawing, painting and composition. I don’t know that I have the potential to become a great painter, but I am convinced that this course of study will prepare me to elevate my cinematic visual composition to a level of compelling beauty that has not yet been seen in film. (As for painting, we’ll have to wait to see what I have in me.)

James D. Strain

[ For the interest of our readers, we believe this to be the same James D. Strain who wrote the screenplay for Bingo and co-wrote L'Été des singes (Summer of the Monkeys) and the blockbuster film Jumanji, starring Robin Williams. - Ed. ]