So far my painting follows the structure set forth in Bonnard’s picture which I emulate. And notwithstanding my window shopping, I seem to be using his window — at least for the present. The horizontal and vertical elements of Bonnard’s window are an essential component of his painting’s structure. Of course, the real structure of mine is as yet unresolved. I’m looking for it, and I’m hardly even started.
I made the study above a year or two ago with the aim of using it in a variation on the motif of flowers on a table sitting in front of a window. I recall that the light was changing rapidly and I just decided impulsively to see if I could make a fast drawing with oil pastels. Some element of the colors still beckons and those sinewy lines of the tree that’s up against the house. The tension between the squares of the window panes and the curvy trees and the colors, they all hint at something. I don’t know what.
For much art, getting the perspective right is significant for the sake of realism. In Bonnard’s art the flying off askew of perpendicular and horizontal lines obeys a visual physics all its own. You don’t get there by constructing perspective lines or by assiduously drawing the architecture as it is. You have to find the lines through sensibility the way that ants follow pheromone trails.
I was having trouble drawing a door many years ago. Just couldn’t figure it out. So I poured through my Bonnard books until I found a door of his. Simply looking at his image showed me the solutions I needed. They weren’t elements of perspective. They were ideas about what to describe and what to forget about. My door is as wobbly as his, but it serves its pictorial purpose — it’s a passage way into the pictorial outdoors — or from realm to realm.