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