Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Gauguin and Friends

Recently I have been reading Robert Goldwater's book Gauguin to my art therapy client as she is not able to paint.

The color plates and descriptions are exceptional. We are learning about the personal side of Gauguin and his challenges with life as well as fellow artists.

Can you imagine hanging out with Monet, Van Gogh, Pissarro and Cezanne? Not only did they have personality clashes, but shared painting techniques. I noticed some of Gauguin's painting techniques resemble Van Gogh's without the heavy applications of paint.

In Gauguin's Intimate Journals, he says, "The Impressionists study color exclusively, but without freedom, always shackled by the need of probability. For them the ideal landscape, created from many entities does not exist.......They heed only the eye, and neglect the mysterious centers of thought, so falling into merely scientific reasoning."

One of my favorite paintings:

Still Life With Three Puppies
Paul Gauguin

Gauguin wrote about the time this picture was painted, "I have sacrificed everything - execution and color - for style, wishing to impose upon myself something else than what I [already] know how to do." This painting is filled with the most brilliant color, but it is color determined by a conception so original, and in many ways so much ahead of its time that one understands how Gauguin could feel that he was forcing himself toward a style he had not previously imagined, subordinating all else in the effort.

I can relate to feeling like a sacrifice to try something new in the realm of art, but excitingly so. I seem to be in that place and time.

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