Techniques & Philosophy

The Environment


Viewers of a Glen Heberling still life or landscape will often exclaim about the sharp detail and high degree of realism. Indeed, some have mistaken it for photo-realism. Yet it should be noted that this artist did not use the techniques of photo-realistic painters who use mechanical means to duplicate a previously taken photograph. He did however, shoot photographs on his travels to use as visual reminders when he returned to the studio. But never did he copy a photo verbatim and was strongly opposed to "artists" doing so. Indeed, he was vehemently against the practice of copying other works of art, whether it be a master or otherwise, for commercial or even educational uses. Imagination in his mind was as integral to the art as the paint strokes on the canvas (or masonite as the case may be which he preferred for its far better durability). All his still lifes were from life without visual or mechanical aids. Most of his landscapes were done onsite and polished in the studio, except for the imaginary ones of course.


Expressionism, fantasy, abstract & surrealism

"Desire for an expression of the inner self lies behind the generation of forms that are discovered on the way to original concept. Frequently I don't know what will be the outcome until I do it: much of my work is thusly spontaneous. Yet, always my early training in the classic forms is manifest in other works."

- Glen A. Heberling

Mediums & colors

The work of Glen A. Heberling of Highland Falls, NY shows the harmonious nature of the earth colors. He subtly combines earth colors (in the components of his paintings) and compliments the rusty reds with mossy greens favored by many who use the earth palette. He also demonstrates the soft golden beauty of yellow ochre in the company of other earths and quiet blues.

"I have used the earth colors ever since I started to paint in 1934."

"Watercolor is fascinating because of the effects made possible by the medium. My method is that of the English School, which uses layers of color. Some works I plan with compositional sketches; others are more spontaneous."

Heberling uses these basic earth colors: the two sienna's, the two umbers, and yellow ochre. He usually uses them straight from the tube. He sometimes mixes these earths with brighter colors to modulate them. He has eliminated the more opaque colors from his palette, but does not regard the earths as opaques and often glazes with them. Care must be taken when glazing he warns, because the earth colors lift easily. He doesn't worry about the colors separating when he mixes them, feeling this effect adds interest to a painting.

" Some people are prejudiced against the earth colors and call them old, passé, or out of favor, but this should not stop an artist from using them," says Heberling. "Basically, my choice of colors is dictated by an inner urge of creativity together with an intuitive aesthetic, as well as a regard for the colors' suitability and practicability. A painting seems to make it's own rules. I simply follow them."

- Glen A. Heberling on Watercolor as a medium for WATERCOLOR, an American Artist publication, Summer 1996.

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GH On 20th Century Art

I believe art works should be planned, constructed, thought about and corrected where needed. A classic expression, whether traditional or contemporary would be ideal. I do not believe a tantrum in paint can result in art, or that an explosion of the psyche is necessary for expressiveness. My view would not exclude spontaneous effects nor even "accidents on purpose" as these can be great tools for discovery. They should not be an end in themselves. The true artist has an inner eye and imagination that leads him or her to solutions that can be realistic or otherwise without becoming a slave to mere appearances or conventions.

When the definitive history of the Art of the 20th Century is written in the 22nd Century, it will be exceedingly different than what has been proclaimed so far and will differ considerably from opinions to be held even into the 21st Century. A vast purging of many "names" in "histories" of modern art will leave room for artists who have not yet received their plaudits, or who are just arriving. The pursuit of art is never ending with the unexpected continually arising oftentimes with retardations of concepts confused with progress.

GH - March 14, 1988


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There are all sorts of realities in painting. This reality can be applied to the idea, the composition (plastic qualities) the color, the perspective, the tonality, the spirit, the texture of surface, the technique.

GH - November, 1944

Reality in art is acceptable as to the degree of its adherence to precepts. What if there were no precepts? Then it would not be art. Only after it is accepted as human invention would it be classified as art.

GH - March 1st, 1988


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Most artists carve out a little niche for themselves and are content to stay there never venturing into the maelstrom of contention. Is it any wonder the art world is awash with countless inconsequential works? This would include innumerable ones of a trendy nature merely following the ism of the time or of the past.

I do not make historical resuscitations but rather interpretations of our present condition and the future possibilities in art and life.

Some of my works dating back 45 years have been prophetic of several schools of avant-garde painting that have come along since. Many artists have not yet caught up with the 20th Century and here we are almost to the 21st!

The making of art is an attempt to express the inexpressible. The maker fails often but please bear with him. Who else would be so foolish to try? The biggest surprise is when he succeeds.

I have never felt constrained to a particular mode of painting but attempt to search out other ways to express new ideas. I think of original works as akin to inventions: something that works that has not been seen before . . . or variations on themes or modes as in a series where each is different yet a member of a family or like kind.

I have a drawer full of ideas sketched or written down that I hardly ever refer to. No need, as others keep popping up. Most will never be worked out and are dismissed as being too complicated, (the result might be incoherency), too trite, too time consuming or for other reasons impractical as paintings.

I also have a number of works as yet unfinished, started at various times in which I have lost interest. Once in a while I will rescue one of these and finish it. Though I started as traditionalist, my tendency has for many years (since 1941) been toward the experimental and the modern approach.

If I have done a good piece of work I do not worry if it is not accepted for now, (as some have not) as I know in time that it will be. Traditionalist efforts are still a major part of my ouvre and give me and others satisfactions not communicable by other means.

Lying behind a great art piece are many hours, sometimes days of preparations in planning, research trials, scale drawings, various approaches, until the whole gels during the final execution. This is possible only after years of study and experience and shows that the artist's life is not an easy one. His dedication is to work and possibly, art that will last the ages will be the outcome.

New expressions in art seem now to be going nowhere. The attitude that all has been revealed seems to be the temper of the times. I believe we are in a temporary hiatus and that unexpected new startling pictorializations will emerge before long as a result of the newer electronic means. Already most of the art I see consists of things with no ideas expressed. They are merely pictorialized objects albeit in a particular context. The really hard part is the depiction of an idea. One viewpoint that I favor is that Art is about Art before it is about anything else. Art should imposed upon natural form, thus nature is transformed and reinterpreted to stand as an entity aside from the mere appearance of nature. All the greatest works of art are not direct transcriptions of nature but consist of the artist's thoughts of the subjects at hand. These thoughts may be expressed as abstractions as well as recognizable form. There is a basic abstraction of form even in all realistic painting aspiring to greatness.

GH - January 6th & 7th, 1986


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Society of Copier & Fake Artist's

Original artist's barred. No experience required. Applicants must have no scruples about repeating the pictures of those original artist's and photographer's who thought of or "captured" the pictures in the first place. Members shall disregard rights of origination and copyright laws. They shall change the original slightly, mostly by un-intention so as to fool the public as to it's source. They shall take all credits for "origination" by signing their own name, not marking as a copy, nor identifying as to (the) true source. These pictures shall be sneaked into legitimate art shows in quantity so as to confuse the public about where actual talent lies.

GH - February 1972


True Art

True art is the pursuit of quality. The idea that it is anything else is ridiculous. Most people think of it as a business or that it's for prestige or as investment. As long as they think in these terms or other than pure quality they will not develop an "eye" for art: they will not be able to judge a work of art on it's own merits but will be swayed by other considerations.


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I would produce monuments but would not desecrate the sight there-by. Monuments are built so they can be torn down.

GH - 7/14/1987



"A lot of art is called ART because that's what it is called."

GH - 4/21/87


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Art Defined

We need a new definition of Art.

  1. Art should be made with tools and materials only handled by the artist or at his direction.

  2. Art should be (a) unique concept: one only.

  3. There can be a change from one to another in a series if the change is deliberately done by the artist.

  4. An attempt at duplication or a multiple of a work of art cannot be rated as Art.

  5. All prints not definitely planned and meant by the artist to be variations of the first print (or improvements there-of) cannot be rated as originals. Only the first would be an original.

  6. Mechanically reproduced prints are not originals and cannot be. They are counterfeits since they purport to be like the original (or substitute for it).

  7. A work of art will stand on it's own as an inimical statement by the artist.

GH - October, 1977



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For nearly three decades (this artist) has continued to express his profound rapture and respect for the ever changing aspects of nature. In a large part of the work his imagination delves to the innermost compulsive artistic source of expression to reveal subconsciously inspired surreal-abstract images containing symbolic meanings.

GH - 1964


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It is no wonder that my biomorphic abstract paintings are not recognized for being a higher form of creative painting, since the higher one goes, the less of him can be seen. One could climb the highest mountain and no one would know if it wasn't publicized . . . and who could see you while you were there?

A creative artist should not envy the academician's popularity for the academician is a slave of popular taste which is invariably bad. I will be surprised if my creative works are recognized during my lifetime.

GH - 2/29/1956


True Art vs. making a living

Artist's living in a commercial world are obliged to be "commercial" so that their work is not really the best that they can do, even if they make conscious, sometimes too self conscious efforts to get away from those traits that "sell" a painting.

If only the artist could have no concern for money but unfortunately he and his family cannot live and be accepted by society if he does not have an income to equal the average.

The world can be enriched by the true artist. Why cannot the world afford the means to this enrichment?

GH - ca. 1946


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Artist's Statement of Philosophy and Intent - 12/5/74 (1st draft)

While my early training was primarily in traditionalist art (a solid beginning), mystic and subconscious imaginings kept asserting their right to be expressed. This has led to a wide variety in my work. There have been influences from "modern" art. At times contemporary styles have been explored then discarded in favor of more personal idioms.

Viewers of my work are often disconcerted or confused over the variety shown. They perhaps think that I have not found my true "bent". They see realism, romanticism, classicism, surrealism, cubism, abstract-surrealism, symbolism, fantasy, even "op" and expressionist things. Interest in a mode will set me off to further delve in a particular direction.

My true oruvre would be illusionism in whatever direction it may take. I do not feel myself limited to any aesthetic but have convictions about what areas are worth while. Many art movements have died since I set my personal course in the 30's and 40's. This I had foreseen in most cases. Others are or will be on their way out.

Painting is an enormously difficult art even for one who has been at it for so many years (40). Exploratory efforts often come to naught. Salvaging a painting that has possibilities is most frustrating and often requires a great amount of time that finally does not seem to have been justified. All works fall short of the artist's conception. The mind's eye is far more adept then is the limiting properties of the media.

Technical matters can be mastered, (very few do), yet an artist with just technique can be uninteresting. The power of an individual's capacity for visualization is the measure of his talent; technique is the means of it's (sic) expression.


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Artist's Statement - 12/5/74 (2nd draft)

Many years have been devoted to painting and exhibiting, yet the satisfactions have been mostly of seeing works come into existence and the appreciation of the public. Remuneration has been slim and at times non-existent.

Many excellent paintings remain unsold due to the non-pushy nature of the artist. His thoughts on art exclude thoughts of a market. His attitude: any time not spent at creative efforts has been excluding to art and only so much of that could be tolerated. A large body of work of abstract-surrealism, while eliciting much comment and even admiration among fellow artists and others is still mostly in the hands of the artist.

There have been many temptations to paint "to the market" in order to sell. This is repugnant to the artist. He feels the only interest should be it's aesthetic content. The "message" must necessarily be of any order not to turn people off. The majority of his works are related to illusionistic realism in this respect. He wishes to be understood and is not striving to be "difficult" though some works may seem so.

He is seeking means of a decent livelihood via sponsorships in order to keep on producing. His health is excellent for his age (59), he has normal good habits (does nor smoke) and expects to work on and into old age. Without sufficient support from sales, grants, or stipend what could happen might be a withering away, a loss of health through worry, malnutrition, psychological deterioration an inability to pay medical bills. These could cause a premature departure from this earth and a permanent loss to our artistic heritage. This, at just the time when he is at the peak of a mature style that seems to transcend most of the "isms" of this century.

(This artist) feels confident that he has a place (although) yet not widely recognized, in the history of 20th century art. He is careful to use only materials of a lasting nature. The physical capacity for the survival of his works are manifest in the way they were painted. He has studied and researched extensively, means of painting technique that produce the longest lasting structures.


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Artist's Statement - 12/6/74 (3rd draft)

Many years have been devoted to painting. The appreciation I have received is satisfying. But the remuneration received for an enormous amount of work, study, experimentation, research and to cover the costs of operation has been slim. No one but a dedicated artist would keep at it. Year after year with so little rewards. At times other means for a livelihood had to be resorted to, including steel worker, jazz musician, armed guard, army bugler, commercial artist, illustrator and teacher of art.

Maintaining high standards in painting are a constant concern since the artist has to maintain a competitive position against a very large number of painters who are knocking out cheap works in very poor taste for the popular market. These are most often turned out in a highly repetitious way with no originality manifest. Also undercutting the price for an individual work having intrinsic value are millions of reproductions of all sorts catering both to good and bad taste. Then there are the so called "original" prints and photo engraved "original" print repros. There can be no more than one original, the first one. I must mention too, the thousands of painters who copy from repros, the popular works of good and bad painters, even photographers, and pass them off as their own creations! And how about all those innumerable thousands of cheap imports (I'm gagging). Most of these practices have gone on for at least a hundred years. I mention these instances (there are others) to emphasize the enormous problem of marketing for the artist of integrity who is not a "big name".


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Logical Order of Plans for the Creation of a Work of Art

  1. Inception of the idea or "inspiration"

  2. Preliminary sketches to help visualize the theme

  3. Larger sketches more carefully done embodying compositional structures

  4. Color sketches

  5. Gathering or producing pictorial data useful in working out details

  6. Tonal detailed drawing or monochrome underpainting full scale on panel or canvas

  7. "Working in" color areas

  8. Adjusting color values & adding finishing touches

GH - 1961


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Plan - 8/5/46

Part I (short range)

To include all matters that are immediate that builds on to the middle and long range policies.

Provisions - to acknowledge that there are basically two kinds of contemporary art. 1) That which is produced with thoughts attuned to the tastes of the buying public, and (2 that which is uncompromised and created by the artist as being a true expression and therefore right.

To make up my mind that number one is only a means of livelihood and cannot build up a lasting art or reputation in art - that time and effort expended on the public's tastes is time wasted. That all the time thusly spent would tear down any lasting reputation one might make in serious work and reduce the number of such works to a fraction. Would it not be better if one got his livelihood by some other means than the commercialized arts, thusly to keep his work and reputation as honest and untainted as possible. The commercial arts exert forces of habit and inhibitory effects on any serious work.

It would be a feather in one's hat if he developed a tremendous selling personality thusly to convince others that his best works, though not understood now, will be in time, and then their value as compared to the original selling price will have multiplied tremendously.

He must increase his knowledge of art and philosophies so as to be able to defend theories against all comers.

There is an urgency in this life and it tells one that time is all too short to piddle away on inconsequentials - that one must bend all his efforts towards one and only one goal. A break through the hard crust of unacceptability and ignorance can be made if forces are concentrated against the weakest place in the opposing line. What is that weakest place? Would work be more acceptable internationally if it was produced in Paris??! In New York City?

To have one's work in the Museum Of Modern Art's permanent collection would mean a lot - even if a work must be given outright. Consider on the same score the Metropolitan Museum and The Whitney Museum.

To get the work before the public is the big thing - to get them used to a different way of looking. Fashionable store display windows would be a way. One must have utter confidence in his ability to carry out any particular program decided upon.

After a time when he begins to get some support, things will be easier and other more advanced ideas will be accepted with relish by those in the know.

GH - 8/5/46


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Master of the unknown

The state of confusion in the arts of these times is perhaps not so much attributable to modern ideas battling age old traditions as it is a reflection of the chaotic conditions existing in all other lines of endeavor.

If one falls into line of a group going in a general direction, he becomes only another one of many and is trampled asunder in the mad struggle to get to the head of the line. But if one goes his own free way, exploring and discovering, he will eventually emerge as master of the previously unknown and will be accorded the honors commensurate with his attainments, provided of course that they are important attainments.

GH - 1946


Artistic Integrity

There comes a time in life when one must make far reaching decisions that will affect his life and those close to his, to an extent unpredictable at the time.

I am now at such a crossroads. There are many directions to go - most of the bad ones promise of monetary rewards. If I should take the way of "security" without taking in consideration certain moral issues then I have achieved no peace but have merely tortured myself in a different way than if I take the road I know I should take.

An artist whose senses have been trained to an extent that he can no longer tolerate dishonesty and cheap commercialism in the arts is a victim of circumstances that are so strong that he sees himself smothered eventually, to pass the rest of his days amid the barren ruins of his own soul. It is a haunting fear.

An inner compulsion to paint and draw with utter sincerity is constantly being subjugated to the materiality of existence. If I should surrender my artistic integrity the world at large which buffets me and demands certain conditions shall be the loser, for how can great art be produced with insensitive and inartistic people telling the creator how and what to paint.

I am convinced that a great talent has been bestowed upon me. If I throw it away on trivialities and convention of commerce so that material comforts can be provided - what happens to that talent? It no longer is capable of expression on the highest plane. It recedes to the subconscious mind where it acts as a fester - never giving peace, constantly letting me know that my true self will never be revealed - that great art will die before it is born.

GH - 3/19/47


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My Problem

To produce what kind of art that will provide my family and myself with a decent living and which at the same time will satisfy my awareness of higher aesthetics. Or differently stated - To produce an original and very personal type of art that will sell for good prices.

The real problem within the problem is publicity because it would lead to contacts and sales.

GH - 11/3/46


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Artistic Penalties of Modern Life

From time immemorial until the advent of the machine age man had taken pride in making objects of beauty. Much of the artistic production of these earlier civilizations was closely tied in with their religions and came to be worshiped as divine. So people in those societies, being very close to religion were intimate with the most expressive types of beauty that was indigenous to their culture.

But what do we find in our so called enlightened society? Are people close to art? A few fortunate ones are but the vast majority take no interest beyond chance viewings of sensually suggestive works. Most people make no attempts to distinguish between the good and the bad. The average person thinks a picture is great if it tickles his funny bone or evokes nostalgic memories. This general attitude leads this writer to conclude that the depths of poor taste have been reached. The reasons for this all time low in taste directly can be attributed to the accent we put on machine made products.

Take the camera, a mechanical instrument, and realize that you have been conditioned to see pictures as it sees. Through the viewing of numberless reproductions of photos in the newspapers, magazines, books, catalogues and in the movies your sight consciousness has been so trained as to accept only pictorial matter that is photographic. And now an electrical camera called television will administer the coup de grace to what little is left of fine artistic discrimination in matters pictorial.

And so what is demanded of the artist? You know. He must be photographic to be accepted. And what does every original artist know? That the more he complies with the public's wish for him to produce works "just like a photo", the less will it be art and the less will he be given opportunities to express his sensitive imaginative talent.

To discover your artistic soul, and everybody has one, you must counter these machine made and influenced productions by the study and contemplation of truly great works of art. By the reading of aesthetical material one will realize the spiritual world of original artists and will then feel a kinship towards the modern painters who are striving for newer, more expressive means and ends.

GH - 9/24/48


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Looking Down The Road

I was 74 years old November 18th, 1989. My physical, mental and spiritual strengths are waning. I have no great urge anymore to keep on producing paintings though I continue to do just that! Is this just habit or am I on an unstoppable train? New ideas keep popping. Many, many more than I would ever be able to bring to fruition even if I lived several lifetimes.

My right hand now is not so steady. I have a tremor . . . call it mild. Yet I am still able to control my brush in precision work. I work slowly. There is no urgency. A number of works are unfinished, some old. They will probably never be completed as I have lost interest in them. A very few may get some attention toward completion. The trouble here is that these times are different and confusing. World conditions are rapidly changing. Will I ever be able to produce a definitive piece that brings artistic focus to these incredible times? That though is too self-conscious and so I will discard it.

I have long thought I should do some writing. This is my first attempt in years. Perhaps there is an urgency now that the years are rolling on ever faster. But writing takes away from painting. Everything takes away from painting! I deplore the fact that I seem to need as hour's nap after lunch most days. Then I get 8 hours sleep at night.

I do not mind the domestic chores as these keep me active. I had to give up my hand mower grass cutter two summers ago as being too strenuous to push. I now have a gasoline power mower. Shoveling snow is no bother as I take frequent back exercises along with other exercises. I get good leg exercises in climbing to my 3 rd floor studio two, three, four, or five times daily interspersed with trips to the cellar "studio" where rough work (framing, cutting boards) and painting are done. I take a brisk (for me) walk of a half hour about every other evening.

I continue reading and skipping through my two art magazines that come here monthly after many years of the same. They are "American Artist" and "Art News". Both of them have numerous depictions of deplorable works. These are an education as one must know what is being done in the multiple "isms", good or bad and why they were picked or pushed for publication. "American Artist" largely caters to amateurism. It carries articles on technical matters that make it tolerable. "Art News" is for gallery and museum goers, art collectors, auction lovers (and) museum personal.

I am having slips of remembrance on occasion. It can be most embarrassing when names are forgotten. But then I have always had trouble with names.

GH - 2/8/90


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The Environment

How many species of living things are in this world, 1000, 10,000, 100,000? No matter . . .of all living species MAN is the only one that deliberately pollutes, that tries to kill off other species. How do you like your being human? Surely as seen from afar or from "high" we must be the most despicable of creatures. We call ourselves civilized yet we do vast harm to this planet . . . and this effect is accelerating. We cannot escape it's pervasiveness. Our ancestors will curse us, if by then any humans are left to contend with the enormously increased world wide man-made radiation, pollution, and despoliation of all that made living previously enjoyable. What horrors of new mutant strains (humanoids?) will be generated attempting to cope with an ecological system gone berserk due to man's stupidity in sundering nature's ways by myopic scientific means.

In that future time, perhaps not too far away, where once stood the human race as supreme on earth there will be only creatures that are the most hardy to all vistitudes. Do you know what they are? Insects!

So I call on you, all who want a non-poisoned planet, free of man-made radiation to stop by any and all means every attempt by whatever or whomever to further desecrate this only world we have.

GH - 7/29/79


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What This Artist Does: all directly connected with his business
  • Transport paintings, self, other materials to & from art shows, stores
  • Shops for materials (hardly any available locally)
  • Reads critical reports of art shows
  • Attends as many art gallery shows and art museums as practicable
  • Studies technical books and articles. Aesthetics the same.
  • Keeps an ear (& eye) tuned to the temper of the times
  • Talks to other artists about career - aesthetic - tech problems
  • Researches libraries, personal files, travel to on spot locations, other's personal files & materials, historical groups etc. for authenticity
  • Constantly observes nature and it's creatures in all aspects
  • Contemplates new ideas, makes sketches & notes of some
  • Paints a wide variety of pictures to appeal to a wide variety of tastes and so as not to fall into a rut of repetitiveness
  • Prepares materials for painting: stretching canvases and papers, prepares surfaces with base coatings, cuts panels to size, cleans palettes and brushes after painting.
  • Does mounting, cutting mats, backing boards & glass. Mitering 8 corners per frame, gluing and then assembling. Securing pics in frames. Attaching hooks & wires.
  • Gallery lore: cleaning glass, dusting vacuuming, general neating up of display areas. Changing displays.
  • Storage & handling of inventory: in and out as needed.
  • Advertising: designs and/or writes own ads. Trips to printers. Distributes "flyer-brochure" to interested parties.
  • Keeps a running account of business use of car (imposed)!
  • Keeps all expense/income records
  • Makes out own tax returns (very complicated)
  • Attends meetings, not all, of two art organizations
  • Keeps car in good shape w/some personal maintenance
  • On hanging committee for two art organizations
  • Writes publicity blurbs for "Studio Six" Art Guild, also personal news blurbs.
  • Shops for unique articles that can be used as still life material at flea markets, antique shops.
  • Takes photo records of all major works.
  • Keeps updated file & prices of all his art works.
  • Writes updated bios for national, international biographical dictionaries such as "Who's Who In American Art".
  • Maintains studio in "presentable" fashion.
  • Maintains interior/exterior of Gallery - domicile in neat & presentable fashion.
  • Makes tech tests of materials
  • Does photo studies of places for possible use as basis for paintings or as adjuncts to same.
  • Travels to interesting places for study, elucidation, gather photo data, authenticity, sketching, painting.
  • Escorts gallery visitors through 3 floors of display space to view over 125 paintings, elucidating and answering questions.
  • Maintains & updates an extensive "clip" file, encyclopedic in scope of pictorial material for reference.
  • Cleans, restores, repairs older paintings & frames to 1st class appearance
  • Rotates paintings in and out of storage for varied displays, occasionally.

GH - ca 1985


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Portrait Painting

  • Chinese art. Likeness not necessary. Portrait resembles person's character rather then appearance
  • Portraits have double character. Work of art with concepts of form, space, color, design & document to preserve or transmit qualities in space or time.
  • Rembrandt's "Night Watch", probably the greatest group portrait in existence because he let artistic considerations outweigh the natural desire of individual members to be carefully and equally represented.
  • In best examples, a happy balance is struck between documentary and artistic aspects. But in many cases the art survives long after identity has been lost. In greatest masters works persons depicted have achieved an artistic anonymous immortality.
  • Seeing (one kind): cold mechanical vision which does not distinguish between good and bad, does not harmonize or interpret, thinks not in terms of psychological or symbolic meanings, has no base in the universal laws of artistic qualities. This vision is not above stereoscopic photography. Meissonier, Pleisner, Lucioni, Sidney Dickenson.
  • Is a portrait merely for the immediate family so that they can be satisfied that a physical likeness has been achieved or do we owe to others and posterity a more profound expression of deeper significance? The latter would have a lasting quality of the deep seated character being ever able to communicate to others.
  • Most persons have an opinion of their physical appearance which is somewhat above their actual appearance. Most grown-ups by actual test, think they look a little younger than they do, In this respect let me say that you will never be as young as you are now.
  • "The eyes follow you". Great & mysterious?


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Portrait Painting Aspects

  1. Historical
  2. Contemporary
  3. Modern vs. traditional
  4. Realism vs. naturalism
  5. The artist vs. the camera
  6. Style vs. fashion
  7. Permanence and mediums
  8. Originals vs. prints - Paintings as investment
  9. The artist vs. the artist's agent

GH - 1951

The Best Portrait Painters Today

  • Franklin Watkins
  • Eugene Speicher
  • Jerry Farnsworth
  • Paul Treblecock (sp?)
  • Jan Hoowi (sp?)
  • Robert Brackman
  • Henrietta Wyeth
  • James Chapin

Good old American portraitists

  • Samuel F.B. Morse
  • Benjamin West

GH - April, 1950



"Beauty is not the subject depicted but the way in which it is depicted. Thus you may take a subject that is not beautiful but get an aesthetically pleasing result."

GH- April, 1950

"The art of this age: Modernism vs. Tradition."

GH- April, 1950


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Contemporary painting is better off because of the revolt of the earlier modernists against the 19th century's decadence into naturalism exemplified by men such as Bouguereau who was a mere recorder of visual effects. The moderns are in most cases judged too quickly and superficially, principally because they upset standard notions of what a picture should be. They are called unschooled savages, madmen, charlatans and other names not to be mentioned here. It is true the movement attracts the lunatic fringe and others of arbitrative tendencies but it is dangerous to condemn them all collectively. One of the most educated and intelligent artists I have ever known is an abstract-expressionist. Many modernists can draw as well as the best, but they prefer to do what they consider to be more original. The majority of people, since they do not understand it, reject it as nothing. They come to this conclusion too quickly. One cannot understand a foreign language at first hearing but must be exposed to it many, many times to fully understand. So it is with a strange art form.

GH - April, 1950


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In his struggle to sell his uncompromising creations Heberling wrote this letter that supposedly would be sent to clients and potential clients addressing the value of collecting fine art, particularly his. We're unsure if this writing was ever made public. - Ed.

What do I need a picture for?

A good original picture exudes culture. It has associative value with yourself and your business. Visitors will be impressed by your good taste and will remember you as a person of integrity, refinement and education. You will stand out in your set and community as an unusual person. There are a number of people today who are world famous just because of the art they have collected.

Good original pictures are a nerve tonic, offering a haven of spiritual tranquility from the disquietudes of everyday living. And they are an inspiration lending buoyancy to your thoughts. In art we can live a separate life entirely removed from worry and concern. As a conversation stimulator, a good painting can come to the rescue at any time.

Why does this picture cost so much?

There is no other painting in the world like it. It is exclusive and unique. The artist worked for a long time on it, having previously made many pre­liminary plans, sketches, color and composition studies. Its intrinsic value is much higher than what the artist is asking. The materials he used are the finest and most permanent available and are ex­pensive. He has, over a period of years, spent a great deal of money on his education and training in order to bring these works to his appreciative audience. Framing is expensive.

What if I decide that this picture is not entirely to my liking?

If you like the picture now, you will in all probability like it still more in time as it "grows" on you, so there can be no exchanges or refunds made.

Will the colors fade?

No. Since the artist has used only the most per­manent scientifically tested pigments and other materials, the colors will not fade, or change in any other way. The colors used have been tested for permanence, immensely prolonged in the rays of direct sunlight. The result: no change.

There is no chemical change that can take place between the carefully selected pigments. Excluded by the artist from his palette are certain colors that do cause chemical change and fading. Since this artist's paintings have been so carefully planned technically as well as aesthetically, they should far outlast all the so-called old masters' paintings that are in existence today. Most of these old paintings owe their appearance; such as it is, as much to the many retouchings they have had over the centuries as to the limited scientific knowledge of their creators.

How do I know if I am buying a genuine work of art?

You have my word and the artist's too that there is not another like it in the world. He paints in his own way and does not ape other artists. His original concept and aesthetic have been developed after many years of study and experimenting. If he doesn't produce another picture for the rest of his life, his name will stand in the history of art of the 20th Century by the works he has already painted. He is the one that will be imitated by lesser artists who come after him.

If this fellow is so good why haven't I heard of him before?

You would have heard of him before if he wasn't by nature modest and unassuming and because he spends practically all of his waking hours furthering his painting. He thinks it is a waste of time to try to get his name before the art buyers, but would much rather just keep working at his easel.

This painting is too modern for me. Haven't you got a painting that is more conservative?

This is a modern age and so artists must interpret it in an up-to-date manner. Much of Modern Art is meant to be provocative. It is a deliberate break with the old conceptions. It is a searching for new expressive art forms. Since all of us were raised on a diet of realistic representation this newer art seems at first to be so much chaos without reason, but if we do not close our minds to what the modern artist is trying to do, and cultivate its acquaintance, we begin to get a "kick" out of it. After we truly become familiar with modern art it takes on a significance that cannot fail to influence our abstract thinking.

As the ancient Chinese said, "A picture is worth ten thousand words". The conception of what art is in the minds of the public has been confused for a long time. Perhaps the best way to explain it is to make it clear what art is not. It is not prettiness, for this would exclude practically all of the works of Rembrandt and other great artists as well. It is not the truthful­ness to nature otherwise any dope with a camera could be as good an artist as the greatest. It is not purely technique because there are hundreds of good tech­nicians with perhaps only one good creative artist among them.

Good painting is the revealment of the expressive soul of the artist with the added ingredients of taste experience, knowledge, tradition, imagination, technique, emotion and the creative spirit.

Great art is like great music - as your acquaintance grows, so does your appreciation until it be­comes a part of your inner soul life. You feel an enrichment that is mystical and indefinable, which gives a sense of well being and harmony. In pictures, there is a haven of rest and order that gives peace to the troubled soul. The appreciative person comes away from a work of art with his spirit refreshed and strengthened. The way this works is that the artist's statements in paint are registered in the receptive onlooker's subconscious mind. It is a stimulus to the spirit.

Why should I buy this expensive original painting when good prints are much cheaper?

Part of this answer is wrapped up in ethics. People who enjoy art should be responsible to the artist as a person who needs financial security as much as everyone else. There is nonsense in the general belief that artists must be half starved in order to do good work. Since the big art publishing houses control the market of reproductions, they, and not the artists get the gravy.

They print thousands upon thousands of reproduc­tions of each picture among the hundreds in their catalogues. Since the artist was forced to sell his picture outright or not at all to these people, he gets no royalties. All these prints on the market make it tremendously hard for the independent fine artist to make further sales since people are now used to the reproductions. They are so common. Yes, prints are common, so much so that not much attention is paid to them. It is a well-known fact among artists that the frames on prints in most cases cost more than the prints do!

But if an original painting hangs in your home or place of business, what a difference it makes! It is an investment and never loses in intrinsic value, while the print will fade and yellow with time. Just in case you happen to be buying the work of a future great American artist, be reminded that if you care to sell when he is recognized, your investment will be returned many times over.

GH ca. 1950's or 60's


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