Diligently painting a small still life today — a quick, Anything Goes picture, I was rehearsing in my mind all the typical things that one says to oneself when beginning a new picture — having the whole of my art education, as it were, “flash before my eyes,” which is to say that a modicum of hand wringing is sometimes awkwardly requisite. Soon high noon rolled around. I stopped for lunch and took a seat to the side of the still life set up, and in that diliatory way of observing things that comes over you when you eat, I realized that I had found the better view. It was right there in front of me as I chewed my sandwich. The tall giardiniera jar was reflected in a facet of the eight sided bottle next to it, and the line of the jar’s lower rim continuing into this reflection was just so amazing, and that’s just part of it …
While I drank my tea, I made this pen sketch to remind myself of the feature I had found most striking in the alternate view. I suppose it would have been wise to have looked at the still life objects from more than one angle before I had begun painting. But then I don’t think I’d have noticed as keenly the qualities of this other angle if I hadn’t already been painting for an hour.
Sometimes that is the purpose the pochade serves: to help you notice the alternatives.
After lunch I returned to painting the scene I started, and perhaps I’ll work on it some more tomorrow or the next day. The “better” view will have to wait. Indeed there might even be a “better view” in what I’ve already started if I just keep looking.