Monday, November 06, 2006
Daisies - SOLD
These little daisies, in this Ewa Zeisel vase, were nearly not born. Lesson #4: keep trying.
There are variations in realism. Some seek to make no marks at all, some have paint flying everywhere and nothing substantial anywhere. Waterhouse was accused of making images that were unconvincing, but pretty. Convince whom? And convince them of what?
This painting marks the day when I thought about "finish." How is a painting finished? How do I know when it's done? Is the goal to be convincing, or evocative? Some painters make icons of a thing - where it's pear shaped, pear colored, but not sweet or heavy like a pear, just a flat cartoon stand-in. And some make convincing trompe l'oiel pears, where they, the artist, disappear behind it. And some make a lot of messy paint with a bit of pear in the middle, which is sort of like babbling on and on about their day, and their hairdo, and all the muscle it took them to make the pear. And the story that tells about the pear is sometimes way better than the story the pear would tell about itself. And sometimes it's not a better story, just a bunch of self-indulgent windmaking.
So while I am learning to tell you the story of the pears, and daisies, and people, I am also learning what kind of storyteller I am. Most times, I am satisfied to finish a painting when "it is what it is." This is something I say in my head, so I can't really explain what it means. But I will give it a good think and get back to that subject later.
But what I want, what I really really want, is to show you a thing not how it is, but how it is remembered. I think that most people can remember an object they stared at, but can't really remember its details. They remember how it feels and smells and how after a while it seemed to stand out alone on its own stage and everything else became mute in the background. Most of a thing will be glare and fuzzy bits, with only shards of clarity. Because a thing you stared at is a thing you longed for.
So a pear is not special. Unless it is. If I think it's special, then I should be able to convey that, develop the voice that would tell that story, so that you would hear it.