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Friday, February 15, 2013

Mrs. Festini's Hat Box, parts 1226 - 1229

1226. But there in his studio was his painting, sitting in mute judgment of him. He thought about this problem for many days, and pondered the question: how can a painting with no detail be better than a painting with a lot of minute detail? And then all of a sudden it hit him, the textures in the wet paint from the stiff brush substitute for the  details of reality, and although a painting doesn’t have infinite detail, it can have an infinite texture and that is why it can be visually satisfying.

1227. And this is the reason that one should scrub out your work with a rag, pour solvent on it, and generally make a mess of things, so that later the image can resolve itself down into a satisfying complex visual texture, a very thick messy surface which is a perfect substitute for accumulated detail. Because the slow accumulation of small details with a tiny little brush is a deadening process, which leads to lifeless pictures.

1228. Do you really want me to spend my life in my studio painting the petals of flowers one by one all day long, and the drops of moisture on the stems of the plants along with those tiny little hairs just like peach fuzz that you can see also, or how about the gloss on  the back of a beetle as he crawls across a desk inlaid with ivory, all cast in shadow, shadow so dark you can't even see anything, though you know it is there, like in a Caravaggio

1229. You might go to a museum and look at a Sargent painting, or something by Whistler or Turner and see that it is possible to simply imply and suggest everything in a few moments. But before you leave the museum you might come across a Bruegel still life and look at how he painted the light reflected on the wing of a beetle poised on his tiny legs on the leaf of a plant, and think to yourself, 'If God would just give me the skill, I would rather do that instead.'

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