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It’s like the joke about the Dalai Lama ordering a pizza: “Make me one with everything.”

The picture above is a detail of a detail.  I copied a portion of Paul Cezanne’s Chateau Noir at the National Gallery of Art.  (I posted that one recently.)  This picture is a detail of that drawing (which portrays a detail of Cezanne’s painting).

Already this post is turning into Russian nesting dolls.

Anyway.  I like looking at details of pictures (including — I don’t mind telling you — my own pictures).  And for those who want to do abstract painting, you could find motifs for the abstractions by enlarging a small bit of some representational image.

What I like about the parts, though, is the way they reiterate whatever good things are happening in the whole.  At least in a really well organized picture the parts will be doing on a smaller scale whatever the composition is doing on the large scale.  It seems to me that this is true in the works of all the great masters.

So the lesson is — actually I’m not sure what the lesson is.  Just be a great artist.  There you go.  Easy peasy.

 

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8 thoughts on “many parts make one whole

  1. So have you taken a section of a painting and used it as a jumping off point for an abstract? I am thinking that is what you are saying but wanted to ask anyway. I love abstracts and often they are so difficult for me unless I am in that zone of reacting and just painting little by little. But if I were to take an area of a realistic painting and take a small area that really zings, if that would allow me to segue into more of a comfortable abstract painting session. What say you?

  2. The camera did the abstracting here. Cezanne, of course, also — since it was his picture I copied and his painting takes many liberties with the motif. But me, I just copied a section of Cezanne’s painting — a section because it was a smallish notebook I had with me.

    So I had posted the whole drawing and this is a cropped close up of that drawing.

    I don’t do non-objective painting — hardly ever. But one time I did make a straightforward copy after somebody (maybe Monet, don’t remember). Then I tore that drawing up. Then I pasted it back together in a random, intuitive way. And I added some additional marks that seemed like they’d be good to add. That was a very small thing — smaller than 9 x 12. But then I used it to make a very large drawing — 50 inches by 48 or something like that.

    So when I do non-objective things it is like that — still beginning with something I observed. And I have made collages that were purely decorative, sometimes to do paintings of them.

    Pretty much whatever you want to do, enjoy doing, seems like a good idea to me. That’s my motto.

  3. Exactly, whatever you do, enjoy doing. 😉 I will be thinking about this once I can get back to painting. I have had my grandson over for a few days and I am chomping at the bit. I am looking into all kinds of ways to shake it up creatively. When I had taken a class on design and composition, our instructor had us do that exercise, by taking an area within a painting and blow it up and play around with it. The whole idea appeals to me.

  4. I have been thinking about doing some painting from memory — which is a way of abstracting. Haven’t actually done it yet — but usually the “thinking about” leads to the doing later on … How nice to have some grandson time and also to be “chomping at the bit” to paint. The two things complement each other. The little break from painting gives you more desire for it.

    And, well, the joys of a grandson need no explanation! How nice to have him near.

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