Monday, March 09, 2015
color and light
My Air Force chum Dennis hopped on an airplane back to Wisconsin yesterday afternoon.
It was a pleasure to have him here. Not just because it was good to keep our forty-three year friendship thriving -- which it was. What I liked most was the basis for our initial friendship; he is one of those Renaissance guys who seems to be good at all of the things he does.
By vocation, he is a commercial photographer -- and a very good teacher of the art. But he is also a long-time drummer (well before I met him) who has kept up with a wide range of music. I doubt there are many people who could stump him with a popular music lyric.
Now, he is adding artist to his list of accomplishments. During our non-drive-everywhere moments, he sat in the pool poring through an art instruction book that would have dwarfed the Los Angeles telephone directory (when there was such a thing in book form). He also admired the Ed Gilliam paintings that bring life to my new house.
After he left, I was electronically leafing through the current issue of The Economist, and was fascinated with an article on a current art exhibit at the National Gallery in London: "The man who made the Impressionists." I wish I could have discussed it with Dennis; I will discuss it with Ed.
The exhibit is dedicated to Paul Durand-Ruel, the French art dealer who almost single-handedly created the market for Impressionism -- and kept many of the Impressionists alive through stipends. I wish the exhibit had been showing when I was in London last September. (Or maybe I should fly over again.)
The article started me thinking about my own photography and its relation to art. Most of my shots are in support of my essays. The essay is seldom reliant on the shot. In fact, I am certain that some of you are not quite certain if I posted the wrong shot now and then.
But there are times, I imagine my camera as a canvas. Such as the children I shot with the sail boat in the back ground. Trying to line up the action of the boys with an artistic line-of-sight to the boat took patience.
What caught my eye was the scene itself. I am getting in a China frame of mind. In my fevered imagination, the sail boat could substitute for a junk against the background of karst towers in Hạ Long Bay.
I am not a painter. In fact, a rather churlish friend told me I use a camera as if I had a sculptor's eye for photography. It was not a compliment. Discussing art with Dennis and Ed has made me aware of the limitations a camera has in creating the art I desire to convey.
That may leave me in my blue period. If it does, this is the sail boat scene I would like to paint. If I only could.