Kenneth Stubbs
(American artist, 1907-1967)

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Some people ask what my objective is in painting. I prefer to think I have a position and a direction, rather than an objective. My position is based on a belief in the tradition of good painting as practiced by the Masters. My direction is based on the development and change that occur in my ideas about nature and life.

To be more specific, I feel that the structure of my painting is based on tradition - while the content is based on ideas. Where these two things - tradition and idea - meet in the form of my painting, they become real. First of all, the forms are real to me. Where they also say something, so much the better. If a modern statement is the result, it is modern simply because my interests are modern.

The fact that many of my paintings are concerned with flat or semi-flat patterns that depart more or less from the appearance of nature is simply a matter of style. This style comes from the need to have the entire painting, rather than the separate objects, express the idea. The fact that my watercolors and drawings are more nearly a reflection of nature is a matter of relaxed observation.

I hope this statement will add something to the understanding of my work and my attitude toward art.

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As you know, artists always get into trouble when they write about their work. I hope that my paintings and drawings are better examples of my work than my written words are.

Kenneth Stubbs
Letter to Florence Berryman, Art Critic, The Washington Star, January 10, 1955