Monday, October 27, 2008

Coincidences and Perspective

This morning I was drawn over toward Mom and Pop's old house across the creek by the sight of white shapes billowing in the grass just beyond the bamboo patch I planted in the middle of that field two years ago. I could have just gone into the TV room for the binoculars, but it was a nice day, so I took a walk. Fortunately so, for I found that the white shapes were "ghosts" fluttering from a framework that the S's had erected as part of an obstacle course for kids coming to a picnic today. And I had a nice conversation with Mr. S about a variety of stuff.

Now here's where the coincidence comes in. How many times in your life do you think about gargoyles two times within a few hours as a result of two separate incidents?

While talking with Mr. S I noticed that one of the high dead branches of the weeping willow tree down by the pond presents a perfect image of a gargoyle at it's very top when looked at from up by his house - and I mentioned it to him. It looks so much like a crouching animal that we both looked at it for quite a while before becoming sure it was just an aspect of the profile of the branch from that perspective. So that's one gargoyle.

Then later, about mid afternoon, Marianne M called to talk to Linda about plans for a cookie making day before Christmas. But Linda was napping, so Marianne and I proceeded to talk about a variety of things, one of which was art and her surprise at finding me writing about it in a previous blog entry. And that led to talk of the artwork that Catherine and Liana are doing in this class they're taking. And, naturally, one of the things was to model a gargoyle. So that's two gargoyles in one day.

Below are links to the girls' artwork. I liked the positive negative cutouts they did and I found it interesting that their work is so much different one from the other.

Liana's cutouts are very symmetrical, very controlled. At first glance they're reminiscent of parquetry or formal design, like an English formal garden. But then the first one started to look like a tribal mask to me, quite a good tribal mask, symmetrical but not symmetrical at the same time.

Catherine's cutouts are aggressively asymmetrical and interesting in a whole different way, reminiscent of cubism at first glance. And then I noticed the jester face within the teddy bear face on the left side of the first one. The first one is very, very cleverly done; but I still like the second one best for the way the angular cutouts on the left complement the rounder cutouts on the right and top, and especially for the way the little windy road at the bottom leads into the square.

That windy road in Catherine's cutout reminded me that Van Gogh painted a picture of a winding road entering a field from the foreground much like that. I think Van Gogh's picture is in Chicago with one of his greatest paintings - the one of the little room he lived in, in Arles, I think. Stand back from that painting and the perspective is perfect, the corners vividly sharp and angular. Move closer and you have to be amazed because the corners are just the barest suggestions sometimes suggestions made of lack of paint. Like when you get involved with a pointilist painting. You're forced to ask yourself, how did Van Gogh do that? He had to be close to daub on those little brushstrokes; but he had to be seeing the painting from far to see the corners in his mind's eye.

The standing in my shoes pictures are also interesting for the differences between them. Liana goes for bold colors and complex geometric shapes on the soles of the shoes, while Catherine goes for softer colors and softer, more restful, motifs on the soles of the shoes. It took me a while to figure out the logo on the soles of Catherine's shoes.

Only Liana has a gargoyle, which is what started this whole blog entry. Her gargoyle reminded me of a cow that was in one of the Disney cartoons. Maybe Catherine had a gargoyle but it came alive and ran off like the gargoyles in the movie Ghostbusters.

I'll have to remember to point out the gargoyle at the top of the tree to Liana and Catherine when they next come over.

Perspective is everything in life. What is obvious from close up is sometimes a mystery from afar. And what is obvious from afar is sometimes a mystery from close up.

You can sometimes see what Van Gogh saw by squinting your eyes just so when looking at a vivid scene like fall tree colors in bright sunshine, or a dark scene like the sky in moonlight. If you could paint what you see when you squint your eyes like that maybe your paintings would be the prizes of museum collections, almost literally priceless. The last Van Gogh that came on the market was a relatively small and not very good one, if such a thing can be said. It brought a price of $87 million from a Japanese fellow a dozen or so years ago, I think, for the information of you Philistines out there. Not that I have much room to criticize, as though that has ever stopped me. Aside from a very few artists that I recognize on sight, I read the labels in the museums just like most people to know which ones to look at more closely and respectfully than the others.

You can see Catherine and Liana's artwork at the links below.




BL-Dave said...

Okay, Okay, Okay (as Joe Pesci coined in "My Cousin Vinny") I've finally targeted and scanned your blog for truth and factualism! This accelerated primarily because I heard my girls' artwork was being critiqued by someone of note! I guess I can hesitatingly relinquish some of my morning Drudge, Fox News and O'Reilly Factor time to your blog. Your writings are all very interesting and insightful…and I have a lot of catch-up reading to do! Ever think of going mainstream national in the opinion industry? Or maybe a book of musings? That would be great fun!

Sully said...

I'll be communicating with bl-dave off line; but I suppose I should answer his questions here.

I'm quite willing to consider going mainstream national in the opinion industry; but I would have to think hard about the price since I'm somewhat loathe to cast my pearls before swine. You may be scoffing that the previous sentence puts you in mind of Winston Churchill's, or was it Bertrand Russell's, exchange with whichever haughty lady it was, in that I have already established myself as a whore and am now merely dickering over price. ButI have my standards. And besides, if I were being paid I would have had to do a few clicks to find out who it was that asked whoever it was if she would be willing to go to bed with him for a million pounds, or dollars, or whatever.

And then there is the question of a book of musings, a sort of SullysSide filled with items of proper length for perusal while ensconced (Or is it ensconsed? Quit your bellyaching, there is no spell checker for this comments field, and ditto above re the effort I'm willing to expend even for such august readers as I now serve) on the throne.