Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Steep Hill

9x12 pastel of Sheep Hill, which is a steep hill.  This view is from the northern end looking back towards the Hopper from last Sunday morning.

Here's a comment from Arnheim: "In his travel diary Meerfahrt mit Don Quixote, Thomas Mann reports being struck by the unique trick of Cervantes, which I too, pondered last summer.  Writing a second volume of his work fifteen years after the first volume was published, Cervantes makes the first volume a book read by some characters in the second.  He thereby turns the story told as a reality in the first volume into a mere narration figuring in a secondary reality, which has taken over from the first.  This dizzying performance could be compared with, and clarified by, the practice of painters such as Matisse or Seurat, who showed their own earlier works hanging on the walls of their paintings of interiors."

Monday, August 27, 2012

Arrow Re-do

Rue du Commandant Vidal, Cannes.  9x12 oil.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Urban Flower

This is the painting that I have been working on for the last two weeks.  The scene is Prospect Place near Washington Avenue, Brooklyn.  The flower graffiti is really there.  You can walk down Prospect heading west from Washington using Google Maps and see it.  The painting is an 18x24 oil.  Is it a still life?

Arnheim has a lot to say about art in his Parables of Sun Light, but other comments are more interesting:  "G. C. Argan tells me that upon arriving at a railway station in India, he was informed that the train he intended to take would be twenty-two hours late.  But if you like, they told him, you can take yesterday's train, which we expect to arrive any minute now!"

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Keep Still Life

These will be the last of the still lifes that I post for a while, a grapefruit and a lemon.  I like them because they are Zurbaranesque.  Both are 5x7 pastels.

Arnheim writes: "Nothing is more humbling than to look with a strong magnifying glass at an insect so tiny that the naked eye sees only the barest speck and to discover that nevertheless it is sculpted and articulated and striped with the same care and imagination as a zebra.  Apparently it does not matter to nature whether or not a creature is within our range of vision, and the suspicion arises that even the zebra was not designed for our benefit."

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

French Alleyway

A 9x12 oil of an alleyway in Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume in Provence.

Arnheim writes, "For David Hume's notebook: One evening a young boy somewhere in the country banged with a stick against a telegraph pole at the very moment when all the lights went out along the Eastern seaboard because of a power failure.  He ran home to confess to his mother that he was to blame for the blackout."

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Tomato and An Apple

Two more 5x7 pastels from the fruit and vegetable series!  I just put them there, don't fuss with them, and start working.  I have learned a lot about using pastels from these small paintings.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Still Lifes

A couple of vegetables that are posed for still lifes, both 5x7 pastels.  I am making them for a small exhibition.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ranger House - Not a Still Life

This is one of the several sketches, I did this weekend.  It's depicts an empty park ranger house at the back end of the park.  I have a whole kit now for walking and drawing.  It includes a conte crayon, a couple vine charcoal sticks and a white pastel stick, plus a kneaded eraser, fixative, and a 9x12 sketchbook.

Arnheim writes:  "The term still life ought to be reserved for arrangements of things not held together by a natural context.  Chardin organizes his kitchenware for the purposes of his painting, whereas the Roman mosaics showing the leftovers of a meal strewn on the floor are not really still lifes.  The still life is somewhere in between ornament and genre painting.  It is a modern principle because it eschews realistic justification.  Cezanne's or Matisse's nudes populating landscapes come close to still life arrangements of vegetation and human bodies.  Those scenes are no more likely to occur anywhere outside art than Chardin's displays on the kitchen table.  And in a sense, all nonrepresentational compositions also are still lifes."

In my landscapes, I prefer the "natural context".  I may not include something, but I do not move things around, or add anything.  If the scene doesn't work I don't do it, or I keep moving around until I find a way to make it work.   I love Chardin's still life paintings, but am not too crazy about those elaborate still lifes that stack up all kinds of pots and pans, plates, knives, and everything else, until they look like small cities.   I will be posting some small still lifes that I have been making for fun.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Imagine a Street in Provence

A drawing and a painting of the same site, both 9x12, looking down Rue General de Gaulle, Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume in Provence.

This week I found an interesting book, Parables of Sun Light: Observations on Psychology, the Arts, and the Rest by Rudolf Arnheim.  It's my new daily reading since finishing Walden.   The book consists of notebook selections.  He writes contrarily:

'The irritating notion that the beholder should complete through his imagination what the artist left undone is refuted by the sumi paintings, so fond of incomplete objects.  Try to complete the rocks whose base is lost in the mist or to populate the "empty" spaces with more rocks or woods, and you will find that your clumsy moves destroy the delicate balance and thus the meaning.'

Despite the Arnheim quote,  I leave a lot to the imagination in the two pictures above.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012