I had been visiting the museum, looking at old masters with the memory of my own art still in my head. I had been wondering how I could put dimension into the painting I was working on. And before I left the museum, I stopped to look once more at Cezanne’s Vase de Fleurs.
Until then I had somewhat ruefully accepted that my painting perhaps was simply going to be flat – like Matisse (I thought to myself brightly). But unable to surrender this desire for space – while also looking at the Cezanne – I got an inkling how one might create space from the ground up – doing it through the parts.
His bunch of flowers has such a strong feeling of dimensionality within it. You sense the in-between-ness of the flowers, feel as though you could move around and between them, sense the air separating and surrounding them.
You might only need as little as an “inch” of dimension after all. The picture itself is just an illusion, so an inch might be all you need. Just enough to break the surface. Just enough to establish some plausibility – that this is not just a colored surface, but a world that lies beyond the picture plane.