Two days out of the studio does not seem like a lot of time missed. Something else must have happened. Even when not making art, even when I am ill and my energy is low, my mind keeps churning. That's the positive spin on it. In any case, yesterday I spent the entire day drawing (I made four of them; you'll see them all!). So I made drawing after drawing, and never felt as comfortable as I remember feeling on the day I made the sketch for my self-portrait. I feel I am fighting back to comfort with myself, and my skills. Here are the drawings from yesterday:
Another situation got in my way: Large amounts of snow, once again. This has been an amazingly productive winter, and I am getting tired of it. I'm the guy whole shovels the snow around here, and prepares the cars to go on their way. Today it is snowing again. Somehow this brings me to the current exhibit of Cézanne's card players, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. In the February 28, 2011 issue of The New Yorker, Peter Schjeldahl writes: "The only way into his art is to track his technical decisions, like a painting student receiving instruction. Cézanne became the beau ideal of modernist values—as exemplary for the twentieth century of what art should be like as Raphael had been for previous epochs—by making our perceptions of art inextricable from how it comes to be. Our eyes and minds, as we look, repaint the picture. But what if we'd rather not? What about transcendence? Cézanne never lets go." I want to transcend. My struggles today are about transcendence. I am seeking the means to leave technical details behind and get right into describing what it is to feel, to be, to exist. As a child of the twentieth century, and one of the artists mentored by Cézanne, I believe part of the solution is to make "our perceptions of art inextricable from how it comes to be...." But I use this as a means to my end. I am struggling to make myself, and the viewer, perceive the density of intellect and emotions, which is our existence, first and foremost. The glory of the technique should support and enhance this endeavor, but should not supersede it.
I will show you my favorite Cézanne Card Players, from the Barnes Collection, outside of Philadelphia. This painting is not in the Met exhibit, since Barnes Collection paintings are not supposed to leave the Barnes Mansion (but that's another story, depicted in the recent documentary "Art of the Steal").
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