That’s a pun. You see, the “door is always open” because it’s a drawing not a real door. And “the door is always open” is an expression denoting one’s accessibility, get it? (I should never try to do this.) This pun is, however, a good metaphor for art and I like subjects that are metaphors for what I do. In painting you make things that never change. Here, the door is always open; the sun always shines; the leaves are forever green. It’s a happy picture.
I’ve been an artist a long time, though I will not reveal my age. Like a popular American president of yore, I celebrate 39th birthdays only now. But I’m not telling how many times I’ve been 39. Anyway, with time comes experience. I know how I could make an architecturally precise rendering of this doorway — or more accurately — I know how to find the information I need and I have the skills to use that information, and I could make this door square by golly.
But I like this crooked doorway. It’s wobbliness is what gives it charm. In truth my house could use a little work these days, though I’ve exaggerated its picturesqueness in the direction of personality. Nonetheless, I had difficulties making this picture and I turned to another artist for advice. I looked at a painting of Bonnard’s where the same laws of gravity apply and the same slightly distorted rules of physics lend intimacy to inanimate things. Looking at Bonnard’s painting was like having a chat with him. He told me what he had noticed and what features he felt were not significant for his picture. And it helped me enormously. It gave me a new way of looking at my actual doorway so that I could draw it from life and let perspective go hang. Here’s the result. It’s a study for a painting. I love this idea and in time I’m going to paint it.
An open door combines two genres of art: landscape and interiors — it’s the place where they meet. It is a going out and coming in all at once. Believe it or not, it’s a serious motif with lots of historical connections and roots that spread out in every direction. Matisse, Bonnard and their imitators among the School of Paris artists all did variations upon this theme.
I just decided that it was time I joined their club.
[Top of the post: Open door in Summer, colored pencils, by Aletha Kuschan]