Do it! Illustration from Sol LeWitt's letter to Eva Hesse

Just DO! Words Of Wisdom From Artist Sol LeWitt To Artist Eva Hesse

Recently I came across a catalogue of an exhibition – Converging Lines – that showed the artwork of Sol LeWitt and Eva Hesse. Yes I know their work isn’t about pastels but what I want to share with you is a letter that LeWitt wrote his friend Hesse on 14 April 1965 while she was in Germany.

His letter is in response to one from Eva Hesse in which she must have moaned about the state of her work. If you’ve ever suffered self-doubt in your work, or if you do in the future, get out this letter and read/listen to it. You’ll find wise words to help motivate you.

Here’s a photograph of the first page of the five-page letter.


First page of a letter from Sol LeWitt to Eva Hesse, 14 April 1965

First page of a five-page letter from Sol LeWitt to Eva Hesse, 14 April 1965


Rather than reproduce all five pages here, I decided to make a vocal recording of it. You’ll find more good stuff from LeWitt!


A very short background on these two artists: Sol Lewitt met Eva Hesse in the late 1950’s. “I was sort of wowed by her..” (Converging Lines, p64).  He was eight years her senior but they became best buddies. Eva Hesse married the sculptor Tom Doyle (who is referred to at the end of LeWitt’s letter). Sadly Hesse died of a brain tumor at the age of 34 on 29 May 1970.

Learn more about Eva Hesse here. And Sol LeWitt here.

Also, check out the book that inspired this blog:



Speaking of JUST DO! why not join me in Croatia this September!? I’m jiggling with anticipation 🙂

Read more on my workshop page.


Croatia Banner


So what did you think of Sol LeWitt’s letter to Eva Hesse letter? Were you nodding, saying, “Yup I needed to hear this”? Or perhaps you’re going gangbusters right now and it didn’t resonate. Either way, let me know by leaving a reply!


Until next time,

~ Gail


PS. This blog  is rather short because I’m still deeply immersed in the DK Project, and probably will be for at least another couple of weeks. Still, I wanted to get something valuable out to you. Look forward to hearing what you thought of it!

14 thoughts on “Just DO! Words Of Wisdom From Artist Sol LeWitt To Artist Eva Hesse

  1. Jane Hart

    Spot on for me, Gail. I have been stewing over getting ready for a small show with another artist in May, wondering what new pieces to start, how to frame, publicity and everything else when I should just be doing! Thank you for sharing this letter.

  2. Nancy Malard

    My art teacher told us many things in the course of our 11 years in her studio. But the one thing that comes to me again and again in times of discouragement and doubt is this: “Nothing is forbidden in painting except one thing: not having the courage to begin all over.” I am ever so grateful for that wisdom ; it has pulled my out of a hole many times.

  3. Sally A Ayres

    I taped a page from an old Page -A Day calendar to my easel. It says, ” To Begin, begin.” It also helps. It was fun to listen to you read the letter!

  4. Elaine Benevides

    Gail –
    Eva had her own personal cheerleader in Sol! We kind of all could use one (or more!) of those. Facebook HTP has really become that for me and I try to be that in there for others, too. I find the energy in there sometimes to be like Sol’s words in his letter to Eva. When you built that page, you kind of built a cheering squad! At least that’s how I often experience it.

    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      Indeed she did Elaine.
      Thanks for pointing this out, and then bringing it back to all the great cheerleaders – like you! – in the HowToPastel Facebook group!

  5. Aidan Butler

    Lots of unpompous truth in here. I’m reminded of Brian Eno’s advice on creating. Don’t try to create ‘ART’, just take whatever is to hand and make something, and if turns out to be art… Great…If not so what, you will have learned from your efforts.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *