The peonies are the latest among the grocery store flowers. They started opening last night. I don’t have specific plans for them so I will either paint or draw them later just to have some flower images for future use.
I have been contemplating the next stage of the Big Painting, the otherwise nameless painting of the moment. I continue making studies of individual objects or objects in groups as I sort out the placement of the things that will sit on the table. The questions are visual for the moment — what shapes, what relationships between objects, how their placement will affect the rest of the painting, etc.
But I am also wondering what it all means. That’s a sticky question and bothers me a little bit. I chose things for their appearances because I like the way they look. Contemplating their appearance is very appealing — shapes, color relationships, drawing. The hope is that the spectator will find them equally intriguing — or will find their portrayal intriguing. Portrayal and existence are different things.
Do they mean something? My sense is that perhaps they do. I say that because I tend to think everything means something. I used to major in English in college. I call it “English major syndrome” — the oppressive notion that everything means something.
But what if everything does mean something? Then what? Am I supposed to know the meaning of a blue jay figurine, a dark blue compotier with lemons, two oranges, a large bouquet of flowers, a smaller bouquet of flowers, two teapots (but no teacups?), a seashell ….? If the objects introduce into the painting a bird and a couple frogs — indirectly — what is the consequence? Then there are the flowers in the vase verses the flowers on the vase. And the table sits in front of a window with a view of some trees whose antecedents were growing by a gorge at Glen Echo. Does the “echo” of Glen Echo enter in? Particularly since the appearance of the trees tells nothing of consequence about their actual location on the planet. Or did the echo sneak in somehow?
Of course the whole thing refers back to Pierre Bonnard’s painting. I wonder what his painting meant and why I love it so much?
Truly painting is like a dream and can be difficult to decipher.