Nocturne

Everyone’s phone now gives them the ability to take great photos & movies. This is a blessing and a curse. It is nice to capture something, especially when on the road that one wants to show friends. The downside to this is, go to any big city in Europe and you see tourists so busy hunting the perfect instagram shot that they are not actually there in the moment. Ambient sights, sounds and smells are  not absorbed into memory. The old adage that “travel broadens the mind” is a sort of shorthand for being open to experiences and impressions so that they add to you and become part of you. I’ve seen some lovely shots of Paris on friend’s social media sites but when asked about their travels, they can not convey anything aside from the day of their trip they were at the local.

This is not recent news though. Another less apparent negative effect is that, with the ability to snap a photo of anyone, hundreds of photos of a night out with new friends, people under a certain age have forgotten or never learned how to look at a painting.

The relationship between painter and model/subject is not supposed to be one of exacting reportage. Ideally, it is as if the painter is describing the model but using their own words. Words in this case being the painter’s style. Because of the ability to document in photos, a person, people want an exacting reproduction all done in hyper realism. (like their phone photos)

When Matisse painted a woman reclining on a couch, you knew her foot was her foot but you would never dream of doing an  anatomical study from it. Largely, people do not want to see a painting which looks like a painting, where brush strokes are evident as is the artist’s hand. With my recent foray into social media, i have met some wonderful painters who are held back by trying to make their work look too real, too exacting and so stillborn. “Painterly” aesthetics is currently not as appealing to the masses as overly processed and perfected type thing which could be a glossy Haute couture ad.

Some museums during shelter in place have been offering free virtual tours. In a recent New Yorker column, Peter Schjeldahl, one of the finest living authors on art, suggested that viewing art online was not great. He drew the ire of many. There is though a huge difference between seeing an image of a work and actually being there. The digital image, even when shot in high definition still has factors which effect its appearance and impact such as the aspects of the device one is looking on. And the reality of looking at photos of paintings online, more often than not there will not be a sense of communion since chances are one has the television on or other distractions, the myth of multi-tasking. If one goes to a museum, instagram moment hunting aside, ostensibly you are there to experience art and nothing else. There is just an indescribable aspect to being in a building, in the same room as a work with it in front of you and others around you. There is not a “feeling” seeing it flattened out on a device’s screen. It gives the gist of a piece at best, it is akin to hearing a recorded voice not the voice speaking in the same space as you.

I get great pleasure in portraying human flesh in my works. How i do it is not a matter of degree of chops but intentional. It’s painterly and expressionistic. To do close up parts, it almost borders at times on abstraction. I have done pieces, close ups, where there is not the guide-indication of an eye or finger to tell of a body. It is even more abstract yet there is something fleshy about it. I feel very fortunate to be able to work the magic the makes a white square seem as if it has volume & mass, heat of blood flowing just below the skin.

Nocturne Watercolor & Paper 5×8 inches

nocturne

7 thoughts on “Nocturne

  1. There is no comparison really of being present personally in an art gallery and being surrounded by that ambiance as compared to looking at someone’s photographs of the same gallery scene.
    For me it is like reading an actual book that I am holding in my hands vs. a kindle book.
    Thank you so much for your blog post today and I really appreciate and agree with what you have to say about art. Even your photo of your painting as stunning as it is does not compare to the real up close version. Sending you love.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I fully subscribe to what you have written and I assure you that it also applies the same to photography and perhaps with even more strength and frustration … those who try to take pictures with the art of a craftsman and after growing up analyzing the images and the paintings of many artists, he is overtaken by the Istagram people and overwhelmed by the superficial judgments of those who instead of seeing the images, eat them

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with so much of what you said about being a tourist who’s searching for Instagram posts but doesn’t know much about what she is seeing. I may be guilty. When I’m touring, everything seems to go by quickly, but I try to listen to the guide and check the tour guide book to fill in whatever I didn’t catch at first. Thanks for reminding me that I need to look closely at art and places rather than just check it off to say I’ve seen it.
    Thanks so much for following our travel blog, Oh, the Places We See. Glad to have you aboard!

    Liked by 1 person

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