In July, 1921, Peter Hurd was a West Point plebe with dreams of a military destiny. But by the spring of 1924, the young man from Roswell, New Mexico, had abandoned the army as a career and was studying painting in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, under N. C. Wyeth. The experiences that led Hurd to art, and ultimately to fame as a painter of the Southwest, are candidly revealed in this comprehensive autobiographical collection of Hurd's letters and journals. Introduced by Paul Horgan, award-winning novelist, historian, and biographer and lifelong friend of Hurd, the book spans fifty years of Hurd's life. Beginning with his cadet days at the U.S. Military Academy, the letters trace his apprenticeship under Wyeth; his romance with Henriette, Wyeth's daughter; the Hurds' family life in both Pennsylvania and New Mexico; Hurd's passionate love for the Southwest; his friendships with other artists and writers; his various painting techniques; and his philosophy of art. "My credo is a simple one," Hurd once wrote. "It is to live just as intensely as possible, to keep my perceptions at a peak of sensitivity, and to try to realize to the fullest every moment of consciousness." The story of one of America's premier realist painters will fascinate those interested in the creative arts as well as anyone who savors clear and eloquent prose.