Recently, while I was making a Google search for this book title, "Composition of Outdoor Painting" by Edgar A. Payne, I came upon an eBay listing for a 1946 edition that was hand signed by Edgar Payne`s wife, Elise Palmer Payne. I decided to buy it for my collection of art books. I was intrigued by the actual signature of his wife, Elsie Palmer Payne. Everyone talks about Edgar Payne as one of the masters of early California impressionism and I have been impressed by his art. I knew this was a must have book for an impressionist artist like myself. I kept putting off buying the new edition of his book from a local dealer for the past year or two. One day I said, I need it to enhance my knowledge of composition in painting en plein air and I want it right now. It was a good day to decide to take the plunge and stop the procrastination. Although I have sold on eBay for many years, I rarely purchase anything from there. So, it was fate that brought me to this book I believe, you might also say I just got lucky. Anyway, there it was on eBay, I read that it was signed by Elsie Palmer Payne and had to shake my head a little. It was not listed in the rare antique book category and had a reasonable Buy It Now price. I even had the gall to offer a lower price and the seller accepted it. Yes, I did a happy dance when she said she would send it out immediately. I was praying she did not come to her senses and realize what a rare book it was indeed. I told the seller that I would share this book with my artist friends, so this is why I wrote this blog about it.
Although I wanted this book to read about Edgar`s expertise in composition and apply it to my painting processes, I looked up Elsie Palmer Payne on Google next and began to read about her. Art appreciation for this woman overcame me. She was quite an amazing, established artist in her own right. Then I remembered seeing a few of her pieces at the Irvine Art Museum. Elsie promoted her husband`s work her whole life and seemed overshadowed by his popularity, but that did not stop her from creating a body of artwork that is distinctly valued today. What a woman. I am intrigued by her quality of style based upon the human influence in life around her. There is much information on her, here is an article on the book, "The Paynes - Edgar and Elsie, American Artists" . You will find more about her on Google here.
I am reading the Composition on Outdoor Painting book now and enjoying every word along with inner thoughts lingering in the air of my conscience in between the words. Philosophy and art knowledge go hand in hand. Reading this book will most likely change my approach to painting, I am grateful to Edgar Payne in advance. I already have been studying his works in person for years at the Irvine Art Museum. Now I can feel that much closer to his thoughts, as in his very words,
"The most important ally in the study of painting is the art of thinking."
Back to Elsie, I really like this woman and thanks to her signature in this book, I am about to embark on studying her and she will come out from the shadows into my light. Being a woman artist, I can identify with her plight. You go girl, it took an almost fifty year old signature to discover Elsie for me.
Here are my images I took of my vintage edition of the Edgar Payne book, Composition of Outdoor Painting.
The top inscription is the hand written note to the recipient by Elsie Palmer Payne. Below that she used an ink stamp for her husband`s Edgar a Payne signature. The blue ink pen is not showing up because I hit auto levels in Photoshop and it lightened up the paper color and darkened the ink color.
The above two pages from the book is one of the most important references for names of Edgar Payne`s compositional choices. Although, it is not the only important information. There are 108 pages and I will take them all in over the next couple of days. The artwork that I produce right after will reflect the learned theories and technical applications. Let`s not forget the incredible, mind-blowing inspiration that will develop from Edgars words of wisdom. Elsie, I won`t forget you. I hope your spirit is smiling at me.