I've been collecting these old Walter T. Foster books for years. Initially I sought them for their kitsch value. Recently however, like the New Jersey man who two weeks ago chomped down on a pearl in his fried oyster special, I have been finding special little moments in several of them.
Actually, this book has enough bright spots in it that I Googled Claude Parsons only to find that there is a Memorial Award for Landscape painting in his name available from The American Artists Professional League, INC. I wonder if his story is slipping through the cracks? I particularly enjoy this "fault" and his example:
The purple and green are so sweet. The lesson of the descending scale of choices (power, weak, and dead) is a poignant one. I find myself pleading with students to "quit beating-up that line" as they scratch away at an edge that isn't even a contour. It got me to thinking about "trusting your mark" and forcing yourself to move around the canvas. I also found myself pondering the whole "third time is a charm" thing again. I couldn't find much about that old saying on the net. There was the bizarre notion that it is related to some old English law that if you are not successfully dead after the third attempt at them hanging you, you can go free. Maybe there is some holy trinity thing going on? (painting above by Perugino)
"All good things come in threes. People still believe that good or bad luck may follow someone three times in a row. The word bad may substitute for good. Things (death, luck, trouble, misfortune, murders, disasters) come in threes is a variant of the proverb. First attested in the United States in 1927..." From "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman.
Anyway you look at it, I was chasing down the wrong question really. Three strokes don't make a better mark. There is nothing charming about an overworked painting. Then I thought what Claude Parsons was getting at was something like "first guess, best guess" which interestingly enough took me quickly to Rebecca Alzofon and her site that is dedicated to deconstructing Pierre-Paul Prud-hon's unique hatching style. She has some interesting craftsmanship lessons.I sure learned a lot this morning. But don't let all this sentimental representation stuff fool ya, I still have a soft spot for Paul Klee.