I love drawing patterns on cloth
when they recede in depth or when they follow folds in drapery.
I love the picture within a picture, putting something in the still life that has a picture on it, and making this other picture another space in the illusory painted space.
Another thing I love are the confusing bits of chaos that you see when you look at something through glass. I like to put bottles in the still life to draw the things seen distorted by the glass, love to draw the fruit in the blue compotier to see the blue alter the colors of the things.
Also the pattern on a cloth that sits flat on the table top between two objects, to contemplate that space as a special landscape of imagination —
— the way that pattern looks abstract because it’s partly covered up and is seen from an oblique angle so that’s it’s made twice unfamiliar. All those kinds of things are fascinating, are wonderful beyond compare.
Sometimes I like the interstices better than the objects. The “negative space” sometimes gets you closer to the perception because when you draw it you are no longer naming the things, but are instead drawing the spaces between the things, seeking to draw parts of the entire veil of light hanging in front of your eyes — seeing it as a veil.
To dematerialize the objects is part of the goal. A few times (admittedly rarely) I heard painting criticized because it is “flat.” Also because it’s static (as opposed to a movie). Painting isn’t modern, the critic said, because it’s flat and still. But I love painting precisely because it’s flat and immobile so the mind can enter it and move freely.
The pretended space is wondrous. I like to draw the rim to rim on anything that has a void in its parts, like the opening of a shoe, the interior of a cup.
I want to create the illusion of the thing on the canvas and the artifice of that delights me. But I also am glad that it is flat because in being flat it has design. Things are not just things but can connect to each other because some linear relationship that exists only in the mind and on the page begins to pull the things together into a motif.
“Motif” is a pictorial thing, a picturesque thing, it’s a scenic idea. Out in the world is raw reality (in whatever form it actually is). In the mind, on the contrary, are things with names to which meanings attach. I want to fix the meaning into a shape.
In the picture, are lines, colors and shapes that can delight the eyes and sometimes puzzle the brain and which pull and tug and affect the emotions in sometimes strange ways.