(In the 16th chapter of this book Nathaniel Wyeth (who goes by Nat), engineer and inventor, responds to the interviewer and tells a story about on his brother, artist Andrew Wyeth–KSH)
Andy once did a picture. This is sort of an extension of what we’ve been talking about, but it’s indicative of the kind of training I’m talking about….Andy did a picture of Lafayette’s headquarters which is down here on Route One near Chadds Ford [a town in Pennsylvania]. It’s a beautiful, old building, built before the Revolutionary War, and in his picture was a huge sycamore tree coming up from behind the building with all its beautiful branches. You could see part of the trunk coming up over the roofline.
When I first saw the painting, he wasn’t quite finished with it. He showed me a lot of drawings of the trunk and the gnarled roots going into the ground, and and I said, “gee whiz, where’s that in the picture?” “It’s not in the picture, ” he said. And I looked at him.
“Nat,” he said, “for me to get the feeling that I want in that tree, the part of the tree that’s showing, I’ve got tounderstand and know very thoroughly how that tree is anchored to the ground in back of the house.” It never showed in the picture. But he could draw the part of the tree above the house with a lot more authenticity because he knew exactly the way that thing was anchored in the ground. Isn’t that remarkable?
To me, this was all very indicative of what my father [the illustrator N.C. Wyeth] trained into us in whatever we were doing: to understand what we were doing.
–Kenneth A. Brown, Inventors at Work: Interviews with 16 Notable American Inventors (Redmond, Wash.: Tempus Books, 1988), pp. 374-375, quoted by yours truly in yesterday’s sermon