1921/1922 Class Notebook
My parents are engaged in the slow process of cleaning out the home they’ve lived in the last 35 years. Recently, for example, they cleared papers out of an old secretary my grandmother used (my dad’s mother). Inside the desk were unused sheets of stationery and other things that had no real value. But they also stumbled upon something precious: my grandmother’s notebook from painting and drawing classes in 1921/1922. At the time, Charlotte was a student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
The book measures 7″ x 8.75.” The first sixty or so pages were carefully typed. We speculate she took notes in shorthand, then typed her notes when she had more time. Class lessons covered topics such as painting materials, styles, lighting, color theory, paint mixing techniques, setting up a paint palette, painting outdoors and much more. Later on in the notebook, pages were often handwritten rather than typed. Shorthand continued to make an appearance.
The lessons are not in strict chronological order. Nor do they seem to be in a clear order regarding materials or styles. Perhaps at some point in time Charlotte reordered the pages in a system that made sense to her.
Charlotte was a life-long painter. I remember her sitting on our deck in the late 1970s/early 1980s painting the oak-filled, rolling pasture land around our home. My brother has one of those landscape paintings hanging in his home. In my living room I have a portrait Charlotte painted while she was a student. Similar to the sketch of the boy sitting on the wooden stool, this painting is of a seated woman. The oil painting has lovely greens and blues, and the woman’s hair has a hint of auburn.
Charlotte was also known for detailed proofreading skills. I was amused to see that throughout her class notebook she made various corrections and edits to her own notes.