From a fascinating exhibit at the Whitney Museum, here's a drawing by the great American realist of his mother. The curators mentioned in a note on the wall that Hopper was considered by his peers at art school, including Rockwell Kent, to be literally the best in his class at drawing.
He used this talent as part of his slow, meticulous work as a painter, but occasionally apparently simply drew for the sake of drawing. Think you can see in this work his raw ability/talent. It's not an example of his famous melancholia, which so angers people, so perhaps that's my point — that Hopper was an artist first, that his melancholia was an expression, not an attitude.
A choice, not an affliction. Does that make any sense?