where the ideas come from

Bonnard dining room
Pierre Bonnard “Dining room on the garden”

 

I was saying in the previous post that my current still life is in part an attempt to emulate Pierre Bonnard’s painting.  His way of placing objects, his uses of arbitrary colors — altered, enhanced colors — the ambiguities of his art are all things that I notice and wonder about.

My painting — even without a still life set up to look at — is still perhaps more grounded in actual appearances than his.  I’m not sure what I want from him.  Or what I want from myself.    I’m figuring it out.

large still life with flowers aug 20

Here’s how the painting looked yesterday in the studio.

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in the middle of things

yellow still life aug 21 whole 2

The last few days I’ve been working on a large still life painting.  It’s in the in-between state — a kind of messy place where some elements seem well realized and other features are inchoate.  I seem to have settled on colors and positions but I’m not sure they won’t change.

It’s a new way of painting for me because usually I’m working from a motif that I can look at whereas in this painting I am working from drawings, from direct observation of some of the objects in isolation and from old photographs taken at different angles from the motif I’m painting.

And I’m working from an idea, too, of wanting to emulate Bonnard my hero while also wanting to do my own thing.

The painting has a ton of texture.

yellow still life aug 21 detailI like doing new things.  Not sure where this one’s going, but the journey pulls me along.  I work on one section at a time.

yellow still life aug 21 detail 2

There’s so much stuff that it’s like working on several paintings within the painting.

yellow still life aug 21 detail 3

Some of it doesn’t quite make sense, so for instance, I’m not sure what to think about my out-of-kilter stacked boxes.  That’s one of the Bonnard quotes.  If you let the perspective drift — “just because” — because Bonnard did, what will that mean?  What does it mean in Bonnard’s painting? I don’t know.

I’m not expressing myself well.  I think it’s because I really don’t know where any of the picture is going.  It’s a strange mental place in which to be.  I don’t mind it, though, not at all.

Indeed, it feels like I’m learning something about painting that I’ve wanted for a long time to explore.

I feel like a painting tourist.  I’ll be content to walk around inside the picture’s world and gawk!

It will be interesting for me to look back at this post and compare wherever the painting ended up going with what it was like here in the middle.