Sunday, January 10, 2010

Back Trail

This morning I walked this trail which travels along the western back edge of the park. I did spook a fox, or maybe a feral cat. Beautiful, but cold. 8x10 on uart paper.

Merton has some challenging words to painters from Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (that's what I think I should call my paintings). He starts off innocently enough: "Looking out of the novitiate, when the winter sun is rising on the snowy pastures and on the pine woods of the Lake Knob, I am absorbed in the lovely blue and mauve shadows on the snow and the indescribably delicate color of the sunlit patches under the trees. All the life and color of the landscape is in the snow and sky...there is a great deal of pastel softness in the blue and purple shadows. There is no art that has anything to say about this and art should not attempt it. The Chinese came closest to it with their Tao of painting and what they painted was not landscapes but Tao. The nineteenth-century European and American realists were so realistic that their pictures were totally unlike what they were supposed to represent. And the first thing wrong with them was, of course, precisely that they were pictures. In any case, nothing resembles reality less than the photograph. Nothing resembles substance less than its shadow. To convey the meaning of something substantial you have to use not a shadow but a sign, not the imitation but the image. The image is a new and different reality, and of course it does not convey an impression of some object, but the mind of the subject: and that is something else again." I agree with him, but I would conjecture that any picture reflects the mind of the subject. After enough time has elapsed, even photographs look like images.

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