Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bonnard: The Almond Tree in Flower

Bonnard claimed his paintings were never finished.  This painting of the almond tree was last worked upon a week before his death.  I chose this painting from the end of his life because it carries all of the hallmarks of his journey, the colors painted from drawings, sometimes photographs withcolor notes, and his instruction that there should be nothing in the center of a painting.  He preferred the periphery, out of the corner of the eye.  he may have wanted nothing in the center of his paintings, and yet, as a mandala one's eye tends to move from the outer to the inner sanctum and then fully enlightened one makes the journey out of the mandala to the outer boundaries.  He never pre-determined the size of his work, and enjoyed painting on the linen/canvas stretched on the wall, cutting the painting to the appropriate size once he knew the confines of his picture plane.

I look at his work because he also freed his paintings from the limitiations of light by illuminating his paintings through his color preferences and bold shapes.  if you scan a quick inventory of his work, you will always note where his eye/hand moved through the center of his picture plane. 

and somewhere i have a stockpile of small 3x5" spiral bound drawing books, full of contour shape drawings filled in with color notes:  burnt sienna, yellow ochre, blue violet, thalo green light, etc.  I think it would be well worth my while to resurrect those drawings and put my color notes to the test of canvas.

best, deb.

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