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Painting as a Pastime
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Painting as a Pastime

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  162 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Best known as a stalwart wartime leader and statesman, Winston Churchill was a man of many talents—not the least of which was painting. Throughout his life, Churchill painted to relieve his mind from the demands of leadership—and to stave off depression.

Included in this volume are Churchill’s meditations on painting as a salve for the spirit and an important method of rela
Hardcover, 49 pages
Published October 1st 2002 by Levenger Press (first published January 1st 1961)
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This is a lovely little book by statesman and author Winston Churchill about why he took up painting in middle age. I love this passage:

"To be really happy and really safe, one ought to have at least two or three hobbies...

Broadly speaking, human beings may be divided into three classes: those who are toiled to death, those who are worried to death, and those who are bored to death. It is no use offering the manual labourer, tired out with a hard week's sweat and effort, the chance of playing a
One of the benefits of being a collector of printed books is the opportunity to own a treasure such as this. It's slight and will be squeezed by heavier tomes, much as a tiny home between two office buildings. But the joy of life that is inside the pages is more than enough to make it special.

Mr. Churchill has brought a smile to my face many a time via his writings. Here he states his wonder at being able to pick up a paintbrush as one of his pursuits (along with others, such as saving the world
Jan 12, 2014 Greg rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone.
In the 1965 edition edition I have, thirty two pages of Painting as a Pastime are from Winston Churchill's pen. The other pages are from his brush, images of his paintings, which are pretty competent, and are what I'd say are close to the Bloomsbury School. This is a great little book by a great mind. I broke into a smile a lot reading Painting as a Pastime. Churchill approached painting as he would a battle. I don't mean he will 'paint them on the beaches'. He states "One begins to see, for ins ...more
A quick and delightful read that has inspired me to pick up my paints and, interestingly enough, to read more in French. My favourite quote from the book comes at the beginning when he's talking about reading as a pastime and the benefits of learning a second language though, as he explains, not too many: "The boy learns enough Latin to detest it; enough Greek to pass an examination; enough French to get from Calais to Paris; enough German to exhibit a diploma; enough Spanish or Italian to tell ...more
Andrew Carr
I hesitate to list this short tome as a book read, but it is a powerful meditation on one of life's most significant topics from one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.

Churchill's staggering influence often makes him seem a remote figure, and modern tellings of his life too often deify his actions. But reading this book you'll hear his real voice. Afraid of being mocked, worried about what comes next, exhausted from his struggles, yet still passionate to keep pushing on and seeking to
Aaron VanAlstine
This was a brilliant little book, witty and insightful, more of an essay than an actual book, and the first time I've read anything by the former British leader. Churchill took up oil painting as a way to alleviate the stress of command and for someone without formal training, his landscapes aren’t half bad. He brilliantly tells of his first tentative attempt at painting:

So very gingerly I mixed a little blue paint in the palette with a very small brush, and then with infinite precaution made a
Marjorie Elwood
This is a lovely essay in book form - what a writer he was! Churchill explains how he took up painting in later life, in order to distract himself from the worries of his career. He is humble and charming and completely enamored with painting. The second half of the book is devoted to reproductions of some of his paintings.
Jack Gibson
A most beautiful book which is about the beauty of and how to enjoy the extra and essential ingredient items of your life.

Very profound, as one would expect, and a delightful very pleasurable short read which I polished off during a lazy Saturday after a busy week. Helps you reflect on what else you need in your life as well as the routine and work agenda.

Nicely interwoven and visually descriptive essay, not just about painting.

'Change is the master key. A man can wear out a particular part of
A charming read that really could be about anything if the subject were inserted whenever the word painting is mentioned. Truly a wonderful book filled with a soft philosophy that should be the goal of all.
It is by Winston Churchill, who was a painter when he wasn't saving the world. It's a very short book in first person, like he's speaking to you. Therefore, hard to put down. The first part is about how different people relax. Then he gets into painting which is wonderful. He talks about how his perception of people and things changed when he looked with a painters eye. He talks about color and how to learn from the old masters. Wonderful book for artists and Churchill lovers. I did get a chance ...more
This is such a passionate and sweet account by Churchill. I know I'm going to return to reading passages of it again, because the sentiment is so spot-on. There is an abundance of beauty in the world — and his talk of appreciation of simple pleasures and the immersion of trying to render the essence of a landscape, or capturing a moment, representing the colors, and a time a space, are what great art and great living are made of.

There's so much heart in his words, and a joy of living. I'd recomm
Mary Shafer
I enjoyed this little book, a 1965 reprint of the original 1932 excerpt of Churchill's "Amid These Storms" memoir. It gives some rare personal insight into the mind of the brilliant WWII leader, centered around the joy he discovered in oil painting long before he distinguished himself that way. For anyone with an interest in art, how the creative process affects everyday life, or in Churchill's signature dry sense of humor, it's a quick little read with some interesting plates of his paintings.
As busy as he was, Churchill made a very compelling case on what one can achieve in art with his wonderful landscape works. More importantly he tells us that just the hobby itself is good. I can attest that, at least, since I started to draw and occasionally paint, my insomnia has never come back. Further, when an artistic eye turns to nature, it sees no evil or ugliness, what an escape! I thus can take a few 3-hour vacations EVERY week.

However, I have a reservation about one thing he said (para
Susan Townsend
My husband gave me this as a birthday present -- he gets 5 stars for chosing just the right thing. I read it for the first time sitting on the beach, and I'll dfinitely read it many more times.

The book consists of a 25-page essay on painting as a hobby, followed by 18 lovely plates of Churchill's paintings.

In the opening essay, Churchill argues that a hobby or pastime that uses the same part of the brain used in your work is not restful. Painting, thereore, is ideal for anyone whose daily rout
Liam Kincaid
A remarkable book by a remarkable man. This is a side of Winston Churchill we don't normally see much of. This is a must-read for all aspiring artists, and for anyone who desires to live life with a flair.
This little gem of a book does more to make me want to pick up a paintbrush than anything else I've ever read. His observations on the different types of people there are, the work they do, and their need to cultivate creativity or at least diversion in their lives are relevant, especially today in our ADHD world. Painting as a pastime slows one down, allows one to contemplate, and brings the present moment to the fore. As Churchill said, you don't have to be able to create a masterpiece, you ju ...more
This was a charming book about Winston Churchill's reasons for taking up painting at mid-life.
A short glimpse into the leisurely mind of one of the world's greatest historical figures. I've always been intrigued by this man and look for opportunities better understand his psyche and philosophy. Having the opportunity to read his actual words, not those composed by an academic, quenches some of my desire to learn more about Churchill outside of his usual political arena. While this book is by no means one in which an experienced artist can find help; others looking for inspiration or cour ...more
Lovely reflection on how Churchill found the love and the courage to paint.
Dec 22, 2008 Chari rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone and everyone
This little gem is really just an chapter size essay and was part of a book by Churchill, AMID THESE STORMS. I would give this 5 stars except that it really isn't a book at all. It did make me want to read the full book and/or study more about the man someday. Painting As A Pastime is very inspiring to me as an artist but also makes a case that everyone should have a hobby to have a fully healthy and rounded life. I'm sure I will be re-reading this book many times in the future.
Sherry (sethurner)
This slender little book is really just 25 page essay by Winston Churchill, with color plates of his oil paintings in the back. It can easily be read in one sitting. His writing is personable, clear and altogether charming as he talks about the need for a person to have hobbies to keep the mind engaged and stress-free. For him, painting was just the thing, engaging, challenging and not too physically taxing. His writing made me smile on every page.
Barbara Biasiotta
Excellent essay by Winston Churchill. "Happy are the painters, for they shall not be lonely. Light and color, peace and hope, will keep them company to the end.." I will take his advice to heart and not be too ambitious nor aspire to masterpieces. Instead I will content myself with a joy ride in a paint-box..:)
Thank you, Sir Winston!
I have an older, unlisted edition. This book, halfway between the Victorian Era and now, is much more Victorian than modern in its sentiment and earnestness. It was interesting reading Sir Winston Churchill's thoughts on having a stressful job and how to best occupy oneself to compensate for that.
Lovely. It makes me want to paint ... or play the piano, or cook, or garden, or do something else creative with a beautiful result.
This little book sat on our family's bookshelves for decades. It might have been a "book of the month" selection in the 60's. I grabbed it as we were breaking up my mom's house. I finally read it. Very interesting essay written by Churchill and his thoughts on painting.
A pleasing account by Churchill of the virtues of painting as a hobby and his own experience as a painter. I read a 1950 edition from the public library that had a nice selection of color reproductions of some of Churchill's paintings. I like his landscapes.
A delightful little read. Mr Churchill definitely understood the techniques of painting and the satisfaction that it can bring. What depth he lacked as an actual artist mentally was made up for by his consideration for the arts. Who knew?
I have the 1965 reprint of this book, but the original text of the book is the essay "Painting as a Pastime" is from Sir Winston Churchill's 1932 book "Amid These Storms." Also included are 18 color plates of his paintings.
This gem of an essay lifted my spirits. I would love to know that more leaders believe this strongly in painting from life as a means of understanding, connecting to, and appreciating the world around them.
He was so encouraging for me to try painting for the sake of all its many joys and other benefits to me as an individual, regardless of whether or not I end up painting well. Delightful.
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Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, FRS, PC (Can) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, and again from 1951 to 1955. A noted statesman, orator and strategist, Churchill was also an officer in the British Army. A prolific author, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 for his own historical writings, "for his mastery ...more
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The Gathering Storm (The Second World War, #1) Their Finest Hour (The Second World War, #2) My Early Life, 1874-1904 The Second World War The Birth of Britain (A History of the English Speaking Peoples, #1)

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“If you cannot read all your books, at any rate handle, or as it were, fondle them – peer into them, let them fall open where they will, read from the first sentence that arrests the eye, set them back on the shelves with your own hands, arrange them on your own plan so that if you do not know what is in them, you at least know where they are. Let them be your friends; let them at any rate be your acquaintances. If they cannot enter the circle of your life, do not deny them at least a nod of recognition.” 40 likes
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