If you study Bonnard a lot, inevitably you will begin to notice the edges. Perhaps someday you even live in the edges (I don’t know yet about that). While many artists advise students to choose a “center of interest” old Bonnard taught his fans to seek the periphery and now I include things in the picture that can never be identified. For instance, there’s a black vase to the right of the blue compotier. I’ve drawn the black vase before (as below). It’s covered with the most beautiful designs. Sitting next to the compotier, its surface wasn’t even black but instead reflects the red of the background cloth and also reflects — in a marvelous way — a convex image of the seashell sitting next to it.
All that fell outside the range of my picture, but I was so aware of it. (I suppose I’ll have to do another picture sometime of these other things.) But at the right-hand edge of the new picture at the top, there’s a dark curvilinear shape touching the compotier and it depicts the edge of that black vase. So that really makes no sense, does it? But Old Man Bonnard told me not to fret about what makes sense. He said this is a nice trail to follow, but you have to travel a long ways down its route before you come to the really neat stuff.
I’m taking him at his word.
And once you discover the edges, you’ll have a whole new appreciation for the stuff inside the edges too, he said …
Above: pastel on UArt 500 grit paper glued to board, 18 x 24 inches; below: watercolor
Some drawings are thoughts. I usually approach pastel as though it were painting, but in this one I was drawing as much as painting — was putting things in places, was putting down lines in particular. I like seeing the lines in situations. I feel like everyone ought to notice the lines that are everywhere. The world is filled with the most amazing lines everywhere that you look ….
But I digress. I like the bright orange of the persimmons against the pale sky blue of an old table cloth. And the pale violet of the backdrop with them, and the sweet sentimental rose on the elegant pitcher. They all conspire most earnestly to convince me that life is good. I remember all the joys of hundreds of ordinary days of the present and past years and believe that the future will be similarly rich in experiences. Various members of my family are evoked in a picture like this.
It’s almost a family portrait.
Pastel on Canson Mi-Teintes “touch” paper; 17 x 20.5 inches
I’ve been doing so many flowers that I tend to forget about some that I had set aside. So here’s another horizontal format of flowers. The blue compotier in all the pictures that include it holds seashells, which are fun to draw blurred as they are by the glass. The glass pickle jar is also a fun object. Of all the vases I’ve used so far, I think it’s my favorite.
This one measures 24 x 18 inches on UArt sanded paper — a wonderful surface.
I’ve been working on flowers a lot lately. This pastel is the most full of things of the several pastels that I’ve done so far. It measures 30 x 22 inches on Canson “touch” paper. The curvature of the lens distorts the image a little (visible especially at the upper right), but you can get the idea.
I’ve been buying fresh flowers, arranging and rearranging them for the several pictures. It’s nice to have fresh flowers around. The persimmons are from the garden.
I bought the table about two years ago at a thrift store. I was “in the market” for a good still life table at the time, but figured I’d have to settle for department store tv dinner tables because of the expense involved in purchasing actual furniture. However, when I visited the local thrift store looking for vases and other still life items, the first thing I saw was this table whose edge you see on the lower left. It was very inexpensive! I recognized my destiny in the instant! It was kismet! I left immediately. Returned thirty minutes later with the family pick up truck and bought the desk and brought it home! It’s gotten a lot of use since that day, but this is the first time that the edge of the table itself has peeked out of the picture. Usually it’s covered with cloths. There’ll be more peeking in the future, rest assured.
Someday I’m gonna go full Cezanne with this table …