Painting a Still Life with Thoughts of Hemingway, Cezanne and Jasper Johns

Watercolor Sketch in Progress of Vintage Lures

Watercolor Sketch in Progress of Vintage Lures

The French novelist Joris-Karl Huysmans, writing of Cezanne, described one of his still life paintings as “set down quickly in crude strokes and smudged with a thumb: seen from close to, they are a wild mess of bright red and yellow, green and blue.”  From the correct distance, Huysmans, wrote, the work was pleasing, “and suddenly one becomes aware of altogether new truths, truths one had never paid attention to before: unfamiliar yet real shades, patches of colour with a character all their own.”

These are some of the sentiments I feel as I scrutinize the colors and forms of this vivid assembly of vintage fishing lures.  I was amused earlier to day when I read of the Pop Artist Jasper Johns, that he wanted to paint objects “seen but not looked at.”  From my youth, I was taken by the bright colors of the wooden fishing lures that filled my dad’s tackle box, long before I was old enough to learn how to fish.

Hajo Duchting, in his book Paul Cezanne describes the dynamics of one of the artist’s still life arrangements: “The various contrasts of reddish-orange and green recur in paired formations throughout the canvas, setting up echoes and correspondences.  The slow transition from light to shadow means that in every colour there is a wonderful range of deep, velvety nuances.  The shades range from the delicately transparent to patches of thick pigment, ever-changing yet nonetheless contributing to a consistent overall texture.”

I am trying to take a page from Cezanne as I figure out how to make these intense colors “pop” in company with one another.  I still have so much to figure out about how to arrange the warms and cools, the complementaries, the high and low intensity of colors.  Such a complicated set of possibilities!  And before I began, all I thought I had to do was try to match my colors to my models!  Already, this composition is intriguing me, and I can hardly wait to resume it tomorrow after school.  Tomorrow will be my first day to breathe freely.  As I testified earlier, I finished all my income tax research Saturday night.  What I didn’t mention was that it took until tonight to get my tax preparer to sort all of it out and file it, which she did this evening.  I drove home a free man (but too tired to paint for more than an hour).

Tomorrow, then.  Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal because I am alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

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2 Responses to “Painting a Still Life with Thoughts of Hemingway, Cezanne and Jasper Johns”

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