The poem paints a portrait of shallow people doing tea-and-coffee talk and uncomprehending art talk.
That’s not us.
This is why John Dewey titled his book Art as Experience.
In other words, direct observation to make discoveries is as valid for scientific investigation as it is for artistic expression: it is the goal that differs, not the process.
Dillard goes on to say:
West Chester, Pennsylvania, 1942, Oil on fabric, Wichita Art Museum
The left side of the building pulls forward to the same plane as the front. Flattened, this red/brown color unit serves as the background for a stark color drama to unfold. Light-dark motifs of blue-gray window frames centered with dark gray or black set the theme. The theme varies with some black windows edged with lighter gray. White window frames contrast with black or dark gray panes. Black window frames contrast with white panes.
The fence, similarly, has fours slats of medium gray. Then notice how the next two are black. Then the next five are darker gray. Then one is taller, one shorter and lighter, two lighter still, two blue gray, and two almost white. They beat like the rhythms of a jazz drummer across the picture plane.
The angles of the windows and doors, the sliced road, the fence slats and spaces between the fence slats are clean cut and contrast with the graceful flow of the foliage of the tree. A powerful contrast occurs between this and the relatively inactive foreground below. The entire ensemble, united by drama, tonality, space, and a natural kind of logic, speaks its own language and, as Miss de Mazia said, has an “it-ness,” its own reality.
As I described in the last post, Wilmington artist Edward Loper, Sr. watched Pippin paint this picture. At the time, Loper was working for the Works Progress Administration, and he was being taught to make exact watercolor reproductions of early American antiques for the Index of American Design. He noticed the road was not black. The asphalt in the sunlight was quite light, almost orange. He also noticed the distortion in the building. He did not see all the flowers on the tree. He saw a typical Catalpa tree. The fence was a single ordinary fence with no breaks or higher and lower and lighter and darker slats.
Pippin told him he was not “making any of it up.” He saw it exactly as it was.
Huxley’s Doors in the Wall of Perception open for him when he takes a mind-altering drug.
You can learn to “see” as they do by studying and describing what their pictures express.
|Bois de la Chaise (Noirmoutier), 1892, Barnes|
Notice the “islands” of light and color in the tree’s shadow. Notice the “islands” of light and color on the tree’s trunk and branches and foliage. They are those small, shimmering, colorful shapes that, inn places, seem to float.
|Islands of Light in tree trunk and grass|
|Islands of Light in soil and grass under two tree trunks|
|Islands of Light in pavement|
|Bauman, Islands of Light, 2010|
In the photographs, you can see the islands of light I noticed during my morning run because Renoir showed me how to see them. In my painting, you can see how I used my understanding of Renoir’s islands of light in my picture.
That’s a start.