Ramesvara Dasa: In 1969, The problem that the artists had and they proposed that they wanted to go to art school. And Prabhupada had said that was not how they were going to learn how to paint beautifully: “They may teach you how to paint in a mundane way, but that is not what I am looking for. This is how you are going to learn how you are going to paint. You are going to sit in front of your canvas, eight, ten, twelve hours a day. Day after day and the entire time you are going to be painting, you are going to be chanting Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. I understand that you feel helpless and totally inadequate and you are in great anxiety that you cannot do this. Yet that is exactly the mood that I want you to be chanting with. I want you to be in so much anxiety, so anxious, in so much desperation that when you call out to Krishna it is from the core of your heart.” It should be the greatest desperation that anyone has ever felt in life. That is how I want you to chant Hare Krishna while your hand is moving, and if you do that day after day, crying to Krishna for help, every single day then you will learn how to be an artist, that is all the training you need.”
The Krishna book painting marathon started in the fall and going into the winter, Boston in 1969-70. I looked this up in the historical content to confirm. That winter was supposedly the coldest winter in Boston since they have been tracking weather. The artists were in the attic of the building and everyone who was working at the press on any floor, the basement, ground floor or attic or even typing, were wearing gloves as the temple had no heat since there was no money. Now try to picture this, they scraped up enough money for the canvas, the canvas was either leaning on the wall and the artist sitting on the floor or the canvas is on the floor and they are leaning over it trying to paint fine lines of art wearing heavy wool gloves and that is how this marathon was done.