Monsieur Bonnard’s thoughts on color

bonnard mimosas

Il s’agit de noter aussitôt que possible ce qui vous a frappé. Si l’on a dans la suite une simple couleur comme point de départ, on compose toute une peinture autour. La couleur a une logique aussi exacte que celle de la forme. Il ne faut pas lâcher, avant d’avoir réussi à rendre l’impression première.

It’s important to notice as soon as possible whatever shakes you up.  If one takes a single color as a point of departure, you can compose an entire painting around it.  Color has a logic that is as exact as the logic of form.  You must not let go until you have succeeded in rendering the first impression.

So that’s what we learned in Monsieur Bonnard’s class today.  And I have to compose my whole painting around even one color perhaps — one amazing color that has shaken me to my foundations.

the real and the fake

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My still life table and its environment:

  • artificial flowers
  • real flowers
  • drawing of a vase that’s decorated with flowers
  • printed flower (on the bag — that’s a bag from Pret a Manger, hanging at far right top– actually the bag is extra interesting because it depicts a sunflower made from vegetables arranged in a tableau)
  • flowers printed on fabric
  • parts of my paintings that have flowers in them
  • detail of Degas’s painting at the Met on the computer monitor

At’s a lot of flowers!  Don’t you think?!

staying the course

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I’ve been painting a study of the flowers that will go into the big painting I’m working on — the painting that I’m doing in emulation of Bonnard’s “Dining Room overlooking the Garden.”  As often happens, though, while I’m in the process of painting a motif in a certain manner I begin thinking about other ways that I might use instead.  It can lead to doubt and dissatisfaction.

So many little hindrances can crop up.  For instance, I find it hard even to see the picture sometimes.  I thought it was my imagination but then I take a photo and discover that the camera is also having difficulting “seeing” the painting.  Oil paint when it’s wet can become shiny enough to affect your awareness of tonality.  Thus parts of the picture that are dark look lighter than they should.  It’s one example that I use to make a point about psychology.  I’ve been painting a long time, but I still find myself affected by this distraction.  Duh!  I have to pinch myself as it were.  “The painting will look different in a day or so after it begins to dry.”

You have to make sure that you don’t let little things knock you off course.  Because the painting that I’m doing the study for is really large, I remind myself that each of the studies provides me with information that I need.  And information of itself is neutral.  If it were to happen that I decided I didn’t like my study, I can always paint another one.  Or I can use the study, but alter it in various ways when I adapt it to the larger work.

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I ask myself how much more energy I will have for this task when I learn how to banish all the negative thoughts that creep in.

I was beginning to think that the forms in the bouquet lack dimension, or that they seem loopy the way they’re painted.  That’s an even more insidious idea that I must cast out of my brain.  I remind myself — “HELLO, self!  Remember the whole idea has been to emulate Bonnard.  Loopy! It goes with the territory.”

For some crazy reason when Bonnard paints forms in a “loopy” way, I love it.  Then when I do it — when I do it successfully — I feel many doubts.

This too is another bump in the road.  It’s important to keep going with an idea and see where it leads.  If I get critical too early in the process, I succeed in doing nothing except erecting obstacles in my own path.  Clearly that makes no sense at all!

At any rate I have stayed the course.  I carry on with the still life, with the studies, and I’m advancing work on the large painting by gathering this information.  However, I ask myself how much more energy I will have for this task when I learn how to banish all the negative thoughts that creep in.  They are unnecessary friction.  Yes, I’m still “moving” but I’d move more smoothly without the friction.

 

today on instagram

instagram daffodils

Today on Instagram I posted a painting I made ages ago.  I painted a still life sketch of some daffodils — on paper — am amazed that it has survived through the years.  Oil paint is strong!  even on paper.

I guess I have always loved painting flowers.  Since nature loves making flowers, it’s a great subject, one that’s always abundantly available.  I figure that nature wants us to paint them.

I also posted these.

Doing some blast from the past posting.  It’s fun seeing how paintings I made a long time ago relate to things that I’m painting now.

Come visit! @alethamkuschan

https://www.instagram.com/alethamkuschan/

lines that remember

couch1

If I had but known the memories brought back by incidental things like this drawing of my mother’s sofa, I would have drawn every item of my parents’ belongings.  When events are actually transpiring and you live inside the moment you never realize how quickly time passes and how changed the world will become.  These are morning thoughts remembered in the afternoon.

That sofa was the scene of so much talk and laughter.