In Search of a Theory of Aesthetics

Painting on the First Night of Christmas Vacation

Painting on the First Night of Christmas Vacation

I was learning from the painting of Cezanne that made writing simple true sentences far from enough to make the stories have the dimensions that I was trying to put in them.  I was learning very much from him but I was not articulate enough to explain it to anyone.

Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

I cannot explain the deep-seated satisfaction I’m drawing from my second reading of Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast.  I don’t remember how I got alerted to reading this book a couple of winters ago, but am so glad it’s come across my threshold.  This book was published posthumously, and contains Hemingway’s manuscript written while in Paris from 1921-1926.  He was contacted by the management of the Ritz Hotel in Paris in November 1956 to take possession of two small trunks he had left behind there since March 1928.  The contents of the trunks contained this manuscript.

I laugh when I read the quote I’ve posted above, especially the final sentence.  He certainly was not able to get across his theory to me, the reader.  Perhaps this is why I still haven’t published my own theory of aesthetics–I don’t quite know how to put it into words because I sitll don’t know quite what it is.

Nevertheless, I did manage to get in some quality studio time tonight and am anticipating more opportunity tomorrow.  I would like to finish this before Christmas arrives, though I have no deadline for it–I’m painting it for my own pleasure, not for a commission.  And I still have so much to learn as I wrestle with this composition.  Tonight I worked exclusively on the left-hand portion of the painting, trying to darken the values.  I still don’t have any of it as dark as I wish, God knows how I struggle to darken watercolor, adding wash after wash of warm and cool colors alternately.  Eventually I’ll get there, I hope.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am never alone.

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2 Responses to “In Search of a Theory of Aesthetics”

  1. Playamart - Zeebra Designs Says:

    hi amigo
    reading books a second and third time always reveals more layers and gleans more jewels of insight. you’ll find your theories – i suspect they bubble out when you’re teaching – little nuggets of wisdom that demand an instant need to be spoken… and then they take flight and reach the ones who are ready to listen.

    i have read the old man and the sea so many times that i’ve lost count, and i still cry. i also read the great gatsby every so often and still love it and glean more with each reading. in contrast, there’s a calvin and hobbes book of cartoons that reminds me that it’s ok to be silly at times as well!

    someone visited my house a month or so ago, and they laughed at the whimsy sprinkled here and there, especially loved the swirling colors painted on the kitchen counter tops. i looked at the painted surface and said, ‘you know… i think all artists have to master realism before they feel they can paint just for the fun of it without feeling guilty.’

    this painting of yours is one of those, though the technical expertise definitely shows your professionalism and attitude for excellence. i peered over at my painting in progress – a blue-footed booby that’s staring at the viewer with a comical expression.. the painting isn’t one of scientific perfection, and as i paint, it’s taking control and telling me what to do, and it’s a lot of fun and will make people smile… and then i wondered if you sometimes paint fun undemanding studies that make you smile with childlike whimsy?

    enjoy your holidays and your time away from classes!



    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you for that. I love re-reading works that have touched me before, and seeing how different they are in years passing, because I myself am now different. The books just don’t read the same, but certainly feed the impoverished soul without fail. I don’t know how to respond to your observations about my art practice–I am more technician than artist, I fear, and often am haunted by the notion that I could be more illusrator than one who moves others. All I can say is that I am deeply moved by the subjects I choose to paint, and feel overwhelmed with gratititude during the entire process of creating compositions, but never really know what it is to paint “mood”. It’s been along time since I’ve done the childlike whimsy in my art, and I honestly don’t know what a boobie is (but I’m interested). I’ve often wondered if I should play in the comic book realm with my art, and just don’t ever seem to go there. Maybe I’m too serious, I really don’t know. (God I hope you are getting this, because I’m really talking to YOU but fear that since I’m responding to my own blog that maybe you’ll never see this again!). At any rate, thank you for writing what you’ve written, and I’m taking all of it to heart. I do find great joy in your creations, and hope you’re as happy and exuberant as your art exudes.


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