Saturday, August 06, 2022

WHAT ART CAN DO, part 1

Maxfield Parrish's landscape of a still winter night gives us a feeling of tranquility. 


As you look at this picture, you're on a planet spinning at 1,040 miles per hour, or .3 miles per second.  (That's at the equator.  You can calculate your own personal speed by multiplying the cosine of your latitude by 1,040).  The earth spinning beneath your feet is at the same time hurtling around the sun at 18.5 miles per second.  In addition, your entire solar system is cartwheeling around the milky way at 140 miles per second.  Even at that incomprehensible speed, it will take 250 million years for you to complete a single rotation around the galaxy.

Pitted against these facts about your situation, this tiny picture nevertheless controls your psychological outlook.  It outweighs the cosmos and gives you a feeling of calm.

34 comments:

kev ferrara said...

Trying to find out what a painting actually looks like from the digitizations online is not easy. However, in this case, I think it is safe to say that Parrish’s ‘Dusk’ looks more like this than the rather subdued shot you've posted.

The usual tell is that there are more distinctions of hue in the more accurate versions of paintings. Many poor reproductions and digitizations drop hue distinctions, both subtle and blatant. So simply ramping up the saturation of them in photoshop does not result in hue distinctions, but instead merely more intense chromas of similar hues.

So, for instance, in this case, if you look at the two windows of the house. If one were to ramp up the chroma in the version you posted, the windows would not become distinguished into yellow and orange as in the version on AllPosters.com I linked to. The color information in the reds simply isn't there to, if amplified, cause that stark distinction. You would instead get two different kinds of yellow, a pale cadmium yellow and a canary yellow.

I'd also point you to all the color variety in the foreground snow, which cannot just 'appear' by increasing saturation in photoshop.

Anyway, that's my heuristic.

David Apatoff said...

All good points, Kev. At the same time, the physical reality of the paintings may be nearly as elusive as the digital versions. The physical paintings have mostly been ravaged by severe craquelure, with shifting layers of oil and varnish sandwiched together and dried with heavy use of driers and heat boxes. Some colors have unfortunately faded as well. Jim Gurney has an interesting discussion of how the colors of "Daybreak" have changed with time. http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2009/12/daybreak-blues.html

kev ferrara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kev ferrara said...

Prints get exposed to a lot of different conditions that can affect their overall look. (Mold, humidity, excess heat, a dusty or smoky environment, etc.)

But with regard to the disappearance of any particular color, it is the fugitive nature of magenta printing ink after repeated sunlight exposure that is the main culprit.

An example of Parrish’s Daybreak that has been protected from sunlight reveals that indeed there was an operative magenta color press run.

Pinks and soft violets, being mere whisps of magenta, are the first to fade out. So the violet mountains in sun-faded versions of daybreak are the first to evaporate.

The cover to the Coy Ludwig Parrish monograph used a print of Daybreak that had had its magenta plate obliterated by sunlight. The result of removing Magenta, the M in CMYK, from the mix is that all that remains is Cyan, Yellow, and Black.

Which is to say, the Coy Ludwig cover repro is a great example not of ‘Parrish Blue’, but of Parrish Cyan.

Parrish Blue, by a contemporaneous account (1921) was a deep warm blue. More like this, I would guess.

With respect to how the originals look now, the important point to understand is that varnishes yellow over time. I believe Parrish used a lot of yellowing concoctions, and in various layers. So we see yellowing evident in a number of Parrish’s prominent works, from Garden of Allah to Puss In Boots. Daybreak is no exception, which is why there is a yellow shift of the painting away from well-preserved prints from the 1920s.

So, again, with a little bit of knowledge about printing inks, paint varnish, and the limits of photoshopping, we can greatly narrow the range of what an original could have looked like.

Donald Pittenger said...

I need to confess that I sometimes use the tools on my Apple iMac to correct images of art and automobiles found on the Web for illustrating my art and car styling blogs.

That's when the downloaded image strikes me as being wrong for various reasons. For example, a painting clearly yellowed by time. Another case is old color publicity photos of cars faded or otherwise distorted by time.

I know that my adjustments probably never result in perfect correction. But I fancy that I owe it to my readers to provide improvements to obviously flawed stuff.

Anonymous said...

These comments prove we think about little shit to avoid thinking about the dangers to planet earth.

JSL

kev ferrara said...

These comments prove we think about little shit to avoid thinking about the dangers to planet earth.

The fallout from the Attention Economy - this world-wide hothouse environment where any sensation-tactic goes, no matter how vile or dangerous, in the attempt to grab eyeballs, ratings, status, votes, funding, and political power - is that many highly mediated 'intelligent' people are no longer able to think clearly, no longer able to be logical or methodical about that which is actually within their grasp and at their scale; no longer able to find fascination or interest or engagement in art, craft, humor, culture, fine engineering, sober conversation, aesthetic contemplation, their immediate environment, their own future, or anything even resembling a normal personal life.

Instead, their mediated anxiety bounces their attention out to national moral panics, vast conspiracies, global catastrophism, endless intractable historical grievances, mass tribal warfare, and big, dumb, and dangerous top-down solutions to all of it (and hero-worship of any demagogic Messiah that offers to boldly "Do Something About It"* while quietly arrogating mass power, wealth, and prestige to themselves and their inner circle.)

Addicted to negative emotion and no longer able to even dare to think outside mass media scare narratives - trapped by the omnipresent corporate print, patter, and prestige cult where every political thought or point of view is either sacralized or demonized, and every personage either branded Brahmin or Untouchable - they snap under the constant indoctrination pressure, then self-select as sentries and snitches for the Great Cause, ever vigilant and ready to castigate or cancel anybody not also devolving into an hysterical unreasoning lump of anxiety and stress.

Well, count me out from all that jazz, my friend. I've long gone stoic and rogue from the Truman Show.

And, further, if I were you I'd get the hell away from media for a few weeks; take an extended Dopamine Fast. From here on out the scaremongering is only going to get worse, the tactics more desperate and low. And your Limbic System is already redlining.

kev

* Their corporate media-induced anxiety, really.

chris bennett said...

Beautifully said Kev.
And heartfelt gratitude for taking the time to do so.

David Apatoff said...


Anonymous/JSL and Kev Ferrara-- It may be presumptuous of me, but I hope that Anonymous/JSL was not addressing climate change; I like to think that he/she was reacting to my point that we are careening around the universe in dizzying loops at speeds so great they are almost incomprehensible, and yet our attention-- and our mood-- is shaped by a tiny rectangular image directly in front of us. I offered that as part of the uncanny power of art, something "art can do."

But doesn't our tunnel vision seem irrational to you, unless it is a psychological defense to keep us from confronting a reality too terrifying to contemplate, and over which we have no control?

If his/her point is that comments focusing on the refinements of hue in digitization is "little shit" compared to the larger reality I described out there, I find that difficult to dispute, except to say that if we tried to think about the "big shit" nonstop we'd go bonkers.

But Kev, let me approach the cosmic issue from a different angle: can you name a work of art created in the past decade that moves you or inspires you more or has more spiritual profundity than the photographs being released from the Webb telescope?

kev ferrara said...

But Kev, let me approach the cosmic issue from a different angle: can you name a work of art created in the past decade that moves you or inspires you more or has more spiritual profundity than the photographs being released from the Webb telescope?

Christopher Nolan's Interstellar disabused me of any lingering romantic notions I had regarding Outer Space as some glorious wonderland. There's nothing 'inspiring' to me about either vastness or nothingness, let alone the combination of the two.

Unless of course infinite loneliness is exactly your kind of jam.

I'll trade you all outer space for a lovely breeze on a warm spring day.

chris bennett said...

I get the thrust of what you are saying here Kev, and empathise with its sentiment very strongly, but there is the notion of awe to consider and what it means as a function of our spiritual self.

Gazing up at the night sky we look directly at the grandest embodiment of the unknown which simultaneously keys us into awareness of our existential proximity to it. And the feeling of awe induced by an encounter with something feels to be an indivisible coupling of fear and the desire to emulate it in some way, the desire to both flee from it and approach it. It is like the frozen torpor of midwinter; the shadow of 'the lovely breeze on a warm spring day' - suffering and joy, death and life, not being and being, both necessary to give rise to the other.

chris bennett said...

This said, I do understand you were answering the point about that which can inspire, and 'suffering, death and not being' are, I completely agree, antithetical to that.

David Apatoff said...

Kev Ferrara and Chris Bennett-- Kev says "There's nothing 'inspiring' to me about either vastness or nothingness" but my view-- and I dare say the view of the history of religion, philosophy, literature, science, and yes, art -- is much closer to Chris's view. 10,000 years ago when the human mind was still half asleep, it was the vastness of the heavens that helped rouse us from our slumbers, that gifted us with dread and awe of infinity, that inspired mythology and made us curious about our own mortality. You can see it on the ceilings of ancient Egyptian tombs and in the first primitive scratching of Chaldean priests who scanned the night skies from their watchtowers.

Today when we aim the Webb telescope at a portion of space that looked completely empty and dark, we see cosmic pyrotechnics on a scale that is truly mind boggling. For me that is a lesson in the "wonder" of the skies, as well as a lesson in humility.

True, most of what we see appears incompatible with human life as we know it, and perhaps that inspires a feeling of "loneliness" in us when we aren't focusing on the printing techniques for Maxfield Parrish posters. Yes, it turns out that the universe doesn't revolve around the earth, and we may not be at the center of some "romantic" view of God's great plan, but I'd think that would inspire immense and profound feelings about how we should live our lives and even about art.

kev ferrara said...

10,000 years ago when the human mind was still half asleep, it was the vastness of the heavens that helped rouse us from our slumbers, that gifted us with dread and awe of infinity, that inspired mythology and made us curious about our own mortality. You can see it on the ceilings of ancient Egyptian tombs and in the first primitive scratching of Chaldean priests who scanned the night skies from their watchtowers.

Established. But you're asking me now. Not 10,000 years ago. Nor 200 years ago. I can place myself in the mindset of the ancients, and imagine the cosmos as myth or magical mechanism, I can cower before Greek Gods or Elder Gods, I can Charon myself steadily across Styx or chant myself silly at Stonehenge. But I can't claim those mindsets or experiences to be actually of me.

My take has always been that a few hundred years of fair-to-middling science by we symbol monkeys has yielded but a pittance of the total pie compared to the feast of knowledge yet to be prepared and served (thus the young whippersnapper Science™ should demonstrate the utmost epistemic humility at every opportunity).

No doubt, there are still great mysteries to the cosmos, and great answers.

But those answers are dots in an ocean of time and silence. Those that would seek those answers, the true answers, will need to go out and off into the real mystery. Telescopes are toys, photos capture surfaces. The explorers of forever, if they should dare to be true, would spill their lives connecting dot to dot, long lost and gone even at such a journey's beginning, soon after Goodbye. Long dead to us and probably to themselves soon enough. Madnesses come and go and everyone has their own oblivions to tend to.

As one of the very oldest aphorisms ever recorded put it, "Those who go over the hill do not return."

Regarding the cosmos as spectacle, I have a painter friend who insists that the pyramids are great art simply because they are gargantuan. If you shrink them to room size, no longer Art.

I think such a thought is at the heart of my beef with the victory of sensation over substantive structure. I suppose in this scheme if Jeff Koons could make a chrome dog the size of the Moon, he'd be the greatest artist in the solar system.

As far as feeling Spiritual Awe when confronted head on with the cosmic oceanic vastness of all, I get that from the night sky. A real experience, aesthetic to the core, thus undeniable. No dinky photo compares, no matter the scale implication.

Zemeckis' Contact with Jodie Foster did a better job than the new photos. There were any number of truly astonishing and kinetic shots of the cosmos in that movie. But those shots, still, were not the movie. The possibility of new insight makes everything potentially interesting to talk about. That the cosmos is vast beyond comprehension, bejeweled with glittering stars, and wrenched this way and that by terrifying forces is old news.




David Apatoff said...

Kev Ferrara wrote: "Zemeckis' Contact with Jodie Foster did a better job than the new photos."

Hey Kev, that movie was partially filmed at my law firm. The scene where Jodie Foster meets with a wealthy sponsor (with a big round desk) was filmed in our conference room, and Foster comes and goes through our lobby on the way to the meeting. Zemeckis shot it over the weekend to avoid interfering with business, but everyone came to work that weekend to watch.

Wes said...

Ha! The awe and wonder and mystical musings is mostly the result of a unfamiliarity of the sensibililty of the unknown and strange in the depths of a big nothing, zero, vastness, echo, or alienated landscape. It has little to do with the "the grandest embodiment of the unknown which simultaneously keys us into awareness of our existential proximity to it." When words fail us to name our feelings, we call them awesome and cosmic, closer to -- dare I say it -- God. The human ape has feelings too, but sometimes cannot name them. He will, and God will retreat a little farther.

The best "awe" of outer space are the spacefarers now hitting thier stride. It is the spectacular competency of their tiny vessels traversing in the cold nothingness safely with AI and maybe brave humans aboard to test the power of the nothingness that is awesome, not the void. It is the remarkable continuing story of the idiots not satisfied with the green grass of this valley and the reliably "lovely breeze" that is awesome. The horizon often beckons the restless, not because there is something awesome beyond it but because one might go beyond it. Who cares what is found? Its the going that is important.

Once, an idiot carved a rickety canoe and rowed out to an island a mile or two offshore. His village Shaman said he was crazy. He was, but he found a stash of booby eggs that was spectacular. Still, he was laughed at for almost drowning.

They said trains would blow out brains if they reached 35 MPH too.

Of course, no one really cares if a crass billionaire has a spaceship. He's still considered a piker. The scientists and social workers thinks he's wasting good cash that could be spent on the poor and the schools, or curing cancer, or promoting the arts. No one likes the look of his spaceship, because it looks like a penis.

Idiots abound, but most of them will stay on Earth.

David Apatoff said...

Kev Ferrara-- If we agree that the progress of science has far to go, I don't understand why you think the mindset of the ancients is so inapposite. The mysteries of the sky for them are the mysteries of the universe for us. If the scale of the sky is no longer enough to mesmerize us, the scale of the universe is guaranteed to keep our minds wondering for a long time to come.

I also don't understand why you seem to think that the magnificent Webb telescope, one of the supreme accomplishments of mankind, is a toy that creates pictures that only capture surfaces. No human being will ever go far enough "over the hill" to see the sights or collect the information that the Webb telescope gives us.

Finally, I don't understand your point about scale. Surely size is a key facet of quality; there's a difference between a Persian miniature and a mural. Your painter friend who talks about shrinking the pyramids to room size seems misguided. Speaking as someone who has been inside the real pyramids, you'd have to change not only their vastness in dimensions, but also their vastness in age, their vastness of religious purpose, and the vastness of their surrounding desert context. What you'd have left is still art, but a fundamentally different kind of art. Try consulting a sculptor next time.

chris bennett said...

David,

...and Foster comes and goes through our lobby on the way to the meeting. Zemeckis shot it over the weekend to avoid interfering with business, but everyone came to work that weekend to watch.

I wonder what the weekend turnout would have been had the postman ('mailman' in US I believe) been delivering some new photographs from the Webb telescope? ;)

Wes,

The awe and wonder and mystical musings is mostly the result of a unfamiliarity of the sensibililty of the unknown and strange in the depths of a big nothing, zero, vastness, echo, or alienated landscape.

This proposition does not account for the feeling of awe that catches us in countless normal situations, to name just three off the top of my head; a talented gymnast at work, (the dipole sensation of wanting to meet them coupled with self-consciousness of one's own physical inferiority), or the moment of take-off in an aeroplane (the thrill of being a bird coupled with the fear of falling), or a confrontation with a ferocious dog (the opportunity to become braver than you think you are coupled with the desire to run).

When words fail us to name our feelings, we call them awesome and cosmic,

The naming of a feeling is not the feeling itself. The belief that naming something means we understand it is a delusion. Thus all experience is, at root, mysterious.

It is the spectacular competency of their tiny vessels traversing in the cold nothingness safely with AI and maybe brave humans aboard to test the power of the nothingness that is awesome, not the void.

I believe you are conflating novelty afforded by the latest technical achievements with wonder at the unknown.

The horizon often beckons the restless, not because there is something awesome beyond it but because one might go beyond it. Who cares what is found? Its the going that is important.

One could as easily say there is no point going beyond if it doesn't matter what is found. "The going that is important" is the pursuit of stimulation for its own sake.

Idiots abound, but most of them will stay on Earth.

Even the AI types have discovered that intelligence requires embodiment. Our bodies are of the earth and in reciprocal relation to it. And so our understandings of what is around us (even spectrographs of galaxies) is ontologically grounded in terms of a body's relation to that which it beholds.

There is the seeking of distraction because meaning has not been found.
And there is the search for meaning because distractions lead nowhere.

kev ferrara said...

Just time to bop in for a second, to share a striking new oil sketch just posted by Zhaoming Wu that struck me as relevant to several of the overriding questions ricocheting around this board: What can art do? What mysteries capture us?

Wes said...

Chris,

Couple of points:

"The belief that naming something means we understand it is a delusion. Thus all experience is, at root, mysterious."

Naming is precisely understanding, but not a final understanding - there is always room for more naming. Its a grasping of experience, not the experience. Naming helps experience not be so mysterious. Its a Platonic notion that a name is a truth, as you note, which is delusional. But aren't you making that (Platonic) error by assuming the great unknown is a "thing" that cannot be understood, only experienced? It seems as if you've reified a great nothingness into a specifc thing. Like a landscape, its an abstraction (and a fun one), but its less real than the beautiful twilight of a Parrish dusk.

"I believe you are conflating novelty afforded by the latest technical achievements with wonder at the unknown."

Admiring a gymnast's skill is also conflating technical acheivement with wonder and amazement. Its the wonder of human competence where nature gave no imperative, but the human animal impulse found something worth creating. Parrish's twilight is awesome because he named it and could recreate at will what nature does blindly and randomly.


"Our bodies are of the earth and in reciprocal relation to it. And so our understandings of what is around us (even spectrographs of galaxies) is ontologically grounded in terms of a body's relation to that which it beholds."

Yes, our umwelt "grounds" us, but we humans are not bound by that ground. Our peculiar umwelt is adaptable and flexible. Loren Eiseley noted that we are the sole creature that has escaped the determinancy of nature.

Cheers!

Richard said...

Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit.

kev ferrara said...

If we agree that the progress of science has far to go, I don't understand why you think the mindset of the ancients is so inapposite. The mysteries of the sky for them are the mysteries of the universe for us.

The sky is so nearby. While lightyears take light years to fly.

As well, mythologies (and ideologies, religions, cults, political parties, editorialists, critical theorists, propagandists, etc.) offer facile pre-baked answers to impossible and scary pre-baked questions. The given paradigm, for which the faithful tune in, provides instant inserts for the known slots marked ‘unknown’.

I don’t believe in ready answers, nor ready mysteries. I don’t even know what the actual mysteries of the universe are. How am I to understand mysteries beyond physicality? Beyond time? Beyond dimension?

Some of the mysteries may be the mysteries of the mind transposed, resulting in an intractable confusion of admixed mysteries. (For to see the sky is to see the sky behind our own eyes. And the same goes for what we see through a telescope or microscope. Even the telescope is behind our eyes.)

I am fully prepared – having ruminated on Riemannian Manifolds, gravity/time dilation, Hopf Vibes, nonlocality, and “the speed of light squared” – to accept that much of the truth is so far beyond human experience that it is literally unfathomable. In fact, as early as High School physics/calculus I was stopped dead by ‘imaginary numbers’ and the introduction of the Square Root of Negative 1. (I shake my head to this day at the blithe way we all accepted what actually would baffle us silly if we gave it a moment’s consideration.)

So my view is we most likely cannot embody the greatest knowledge enough to truly understand it.

Meanwhile, the ancients thought they could know. And moreover, they thought they could guess.

All to say, my mind is already blown by the cosmos and consciousness. And, that I can see, there isn’t a next paradigm beyond where I am now that further explodes out the pre-blown brain. Which is not to say that I think the issue of the universe is a dead end. Except insofar as it is an aloof infinity.

kev ferrara said...

Naming is precisely understanding, but not a final understanding - there is always room for more naming. Its a grasping of experience, not the experience. Naming helps experience not be so mysterious.

It is exactly the anti-anxiety property of naming - the satisfactory feeling it gives that a mystery has been more or less tamed simply by its labeling - that encourages the pretension that it is knowledge.

In reality, names are stickers. Remembering all the stickers and which stickers go on which items are trivia games.

Wes said...

"In reality, names are stickers. Remembering all the stickers and which stickers go on which items are trivia games."

Sadly, this is the theory of the con man too, but not worthy of the serious seeker of reliable knowledge e.g., engineer. The con man hopes the con will accept the stickers randomly chosen to compel belief (On Sale $9.99!). That's his game, but not so trivial if one is scammed.

The engineer knows that the cosines that help build the golden gate bridge were not mere stickers of a trivial game, nor mere pretensions that made the builders feel better.

The notion that knowledge is mere pretension is the Shaman’s religion; he counts on it.

Richard said...

I wonder how many making layers he went through to make this picture. Having that sky wash and snow wash be so wet, yet having so much detail sitting right over top of it, without (it appears) the use of any gouache or casein layers, had to be a brutally painstaking process

Richard said...

**masking layers

Sorry, autocorrect

chris bennett said...

Wes,

But aren't you making that (Platonic) error by assuming the great unknown is a "thing" that cannot be understood, only experienced?

When I say 'all experience is, at root, mysterious' I'm not saying experience cannot therefore afford us understanding but that this understanding is partial, necessarily constrained within the narrow band of our senses.

For example; I understand that water quenches my thirst, but have no idea how. So, I study biology and furnish myself with a number of reliably predictive propositions about how the body communicates to itself its need to imbibe water. But I have only extended my understanding with a bunch of qualifying propositions and have no idea how these things function at a lower level. So, I study chemistry and furnish myself with more reliably predictive propositions about what is happening within the body at a chemical level. But I have no idea what makes all that tick. So, I study physics, and then quantum physics, which tells me there is another level below subatomic particles which requires the building of a collider three times the diameter of CERN to have a hope of knowing what that might be. And on it goes.

My point here is that while propositional knowing (science) digs deeper and deeper or climbs higher and higher, it remains at all levels outside direct experience of what it is examining. So, I come back to the bodily level - the feeling of water on my parched tongue is literally tasting a mystery that surrounds us from the deepest to the highest.

Admiring a gymnast's skill is also conflating technical acheivement with wonder and amazement. Its the wonder of human competence where nature gave no imperative, but the human animal impulse found something worth creating. Parrish's twilight is awesome because he named it and could recreate at will what nature does blindly and randomly.

If you believe that nature 'does' what it does blindly and randomly then it follows that Parish himself and his 'will', which must, by your argument, be prefixed 'so-called', together with the painting of his Twilight, all be a product of blind chance. So what's so awesome about that?

My answer would be that it points to the deep inadequacy of the reductionist materialist model of reality.

Yes, our umwelt "grounds" us, but we humans are not bound by that ground. Loren Eiseley noted that we are the sole creature that has escaped the determinancy of nature.

Our tools delude us into thinking this. I'm a bird because I control an aeroplane or a fish by strapping on some scuba gear, or a giant because I operate a crane or mechanical digger. In truth I am only extending my reach in terms of my body but in no way am I transcending it.

To unpack this a little: Yes, the human mind has devised ways of organizing populations numbering millions, but the individuals comprising these artificial social mechanisms remain bound by the same bodily limits that constrained our earliest ancestors; we can only manage so many loved ones, friends and acquaintances. Regardless of travel by fast machines or instant communication everywhere or constructing skyscrapers, we can't help but feel distance by how far we can see and walk, time by the rising and setting of the sun, amount by how much we can hold.

Next time you look at a photograph of the Andromeda Galaxy, billions of miles across and thousands of years completing one revolution, note the only way you can relate to it; a stirring of a cup of coffee.

kev ferrara said...

Or is it a truth that ad hominen attacks are aways wrong?

Idiots abound, but most of them will stay on Earth.

Sadly, this is the theory of the con man too, but not worthy of the serious seeker of reliable knowledge


Do you know how to argue a point in good faith?

The engineer knows that the cosines that help build the golden gate bridge were not mere stickers of a trivial game

You aren't distinguishing name from meaning. There are many meanings that have no name, and many names that have no meaning.

The notion that knowledge is mere pretension is the Shaman’s religion; he counts on it.

You've managed to nest a No True Scotsman fallacy inside of a Strawman fallacy. That wins you something, but not an argument.

kev ferrara said...

I wonder how many making layers he went through to make this picture. Having that sky wash and snow wash be so wet, yet having so much detail sitting right over top of it, without (it appears) the use of any gouache or casein layers, had to be a brutally painstaking process

Exactly.

Parrish was famously quoted as saying his work was 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. He would often have a dozen paintings drying at once, because each glaze layer on each picture alone required weeks of drying time. His studio was more of craftsman's workshop than an artsy atelier.

I don't know the maximum number of layers of oil glazes he ever laid on a single picture, but I do know that there is something uniquely eerie about his paintings because you kind of see through them. The layers of glazed colors don't reflect light as opaque paint does. Rather it feels like the glazes filter the light as it bounces off the white ground behind the layers and back up through them toward the eye.

I have never seen a brushmark on any of his pictures. I believe he used poncing and stippling to apply his thin oil glazes through finely cut friskets.

Wes said...

"You've managed to nest a No True Scotsman fallacy inside of a Strawman fallacy. That wins you something, but not an argument."

Ha! You've managed to miss the point to make the point. Touche!

kev ferrara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kev ferrara said...

Ha! You've managed to miss the point to make the point. Touche!

You win again Zorro. Just like in the movies.

Wes said...

Chris,

Great comments. Much to mull over here. This is nice gem, almost poetic:

"Regardless of travel by fast machines or instant communication everywhere or constructing skyscrapers, we can't help but feel distance by how far we can see and walk, time by the rising and setting of the sun, amount by how much we can hold."

chris bennett said...

Thank you Wes. And thank you for your considered push-back and challenges, a fruitful dialogue.