That’s a pun.  You see, the “door is always open” because it’s a drawing not a real door.  And “the door is always open” is an expression denoting one’s accessibility, get it?  (I should never try to do this.)  This pun is, however, a good metaphor for art and I like subjects that are metaphors for what I do.  In painting you make things that never change.  Here, the door is always open; the sun always shines; the leaves are forever green.  It’s a happy picture.

I’ve been an artist a long time, though I will not reveal my age.  Like a popular American president of yore, I celebrate 39th birthdays only now.  But I’m not telling how many times I’ve been 39.  Anyway, with time comes experience.  I know how I could make an architecturally precise rendering of this doorway — or more accurately — I know how to find the information I need and I have the skills to use that information, and I could make this door square by golly.

But I like this crooked doorway.  It’s wobbliness is what gives it charm.  In truth my house could use a little work these days, though I’ve exaggerated its picturesqueness in the direction of personality.  Nonetheless, I had difficulties making this picture and I turned to another artist for advice.  I looked at a painting of Bonnard’s where the same laws of gravity apply and the same slightly distorted rules of physics lend intimacy to inanimate things.  Looking at Bonnard’s painting was like having a chat with him.  He told me what he had noticed and what features he felt were not significant for his picture.  And it helped me enormously.  It gave me a new way of looking at my actual doorway so that I could draw it from life and let perspective go hang.  Here’s the result.  It’s a study for a painting.  I love this idea and in time I’m going to paint it.

An open door combines two genres of art: landscape and interiors — it’s the place where they meet.  It is a going out and coming in all at once.  Believe it or not, it’s a serious motif with lots of historical connections and roots that spread out in every direction.  Matisse, Bonnard and their imitators among the School of Paris artists all did variations upon this theme.

I just decided that it was time I joined their club.

[Top of the post:  Open door in Summer, colored pencils, by Aletha Kuschan]

5 thoughts on “The Door is Always Open

  1. Thank you. You’re the Greensboro artist. Do you ever get over to the North Carlina Museum in Raleigh? It’s a place full of possibilities. I’d recommend their Wunderkammer (Room of wonders), a small gallery arranged to look like a Baroque era collector’s room with paintings, ornate furniture, sea shells, objets d’art, books and prints. Or the fabulously large Frans Snyders “Market Street on a Quay,” where there are life-sized kittens stealing birds from the vendor’s supply, a seal, piles of fish. Drawing in front of a picture like this — translating it into your own modern thing — it could be really neat.

    Matisse (whose works I’d guess you like, based upon what I’ve seen of yours) did a straightforward copy of Jan Davidsz de Heem as a copyist at the Louvre. Then about 10 years later he did his own enormous version of de Heem’s painting in a somewhat Cubist manner. That version is now at the MOMA. Here’s the link:

    So, who knows what might inspire you? Anyway, I just mention it. Thanks for dropping by again. Hope you’ll come back, and I’d love to hear your comments.

  2. Yes, I love Henri Matisse (go figure right) and that Frans Snyders is incredibly cool! Oh my goodness I love that thing. Gas prices are crazy now so I probably wont get by any museums until I save up some money. Trust me, I will stop by from time to time. I put your blog in my blogs of note notepad. I keep track of artist work that I like.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s