Jervis McEntee Diaries

Thursday November 26, 1874

Jervis McEntee Diary Entry, Thursday November 26, 1874, from the Jervis McEntee papers, 1850-1905, in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

Thursday, Nov 26, 1874- Thanksgiving Day. I have filled my old journal and today is a good day to begin my new one. It has been a lovely winter day, very little snow but bright and cold enough to be pleasant. When I reflect as I do oftener than once a year upon the many sources of happiness from which I am allowed to draw daily it seems weak and spiritless ever to give way to depression and discouragement. Still I do it in spite of my efforts to avoid it. I think one cause of discouragement is a certain impetuosity in my work. I try to do too much at once rather than do what I can profitably in a day and then leave my work for the next day. After I have painted as far as I can with profit I ought to leave my picture and forget it until the next day, but I go on trying to finish and I get a certain hardness, and then thinking of my work troubles me. Sir Joshua Reynolds used lake and carmine instead of vermillion. I should think he would have got his flesh tints cold and purple, but the fact is it makes no difference what a colorist uses. If he has the faculty of color he will achieve it with the smallest range of material. I am trying for more freedom in handling, it only comes from knowledge of detail to be successful, otherwise it is slovenliness. Sara came home from New York last evening. Rev. Mr. Dean the Methodist clergyman his wife and child dined with us. Aunt Christina and Lilly were to have come but they were prevented. I had a nice friendly letter from Booth a day or two ago.

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