When I found a blue compotier at a second hand store I felt as though perhaps I might bump into Bonnard in the next aisle. It’s not often that buying glassware feels like fate, but then most people buy a compotier to use rather than to paint.
While I am doing koi pictures, I post other things and this image is another where I discover that the subject matter has elements in common with the fish I paint now. The cloth on this table is one that I’ve loved ever since I first saw it, and it reappears time and again in my pictures. Perhaps it is not odd then that its big roses spiral in waves of floral pattern like my koi in the water. My koi are roses swimming in water. And my roses are koi dancing across a table cloth.
Sometimes it seems that one repaints the same picture over and over in many disguises.
[Top of the post: Floral Still life, by Aletha Kuschan, oil on paper]
Pierre Bonnard was the master of a loose sort of airy drawing. The drawing above was a study for his painting of the Dining Room Overlooking the Garden (La Salle à manger sur le jardin) that I wrote about in an earlier post (in regard to little copies I made of some of the details of the painting when it was exhibited at the Phillips Collection in Washington).
Almost everything Bonnard had to say about art he said with paint, but he does also have a few spare collected thoughts rendered as words, among which we find this advice: “Every painter must find in his “elements” of work, resources, reminders from which to draw from. He only needs to look until he finds those which are true to his expression, to his usual needs, but there again the role of the unexpected is great.”
“Tout peintre doit trouver dans ses éléments de travail des ressources, des rappels, parmis lesquels il peut puiser. Il n’a qu’à chercher jusqu’à ce qu’il trouve ceux qui sont conformes à son expression, à ses besoins habituels. Mais là encore la part de l’inattendu est grande.”
The scribbly-ness of a drawing like this I find so beautiful. It is as though he has captured the light that everywhere surrounds things. And further Bonnard has found something quiet and sparkling and private in the moments of everyday life.
[Top of the post: Drawing for La Salle à manger sur le jardin, by Pierre Bonnard, pencil]