Paul Gauguin On Solitude

 

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Paul Gauguin Self-Portrait with Halo 1889 oil on panel National Gallery of Art

Paul Gauguin was a painter who was praised as the leader of the symbolist artists in 1891. This style of painting was inspired by the symbolist writers of the time. In a letter to symbolist poet, critic, and editor of litarary journals Charles Morice, Gauguin says,

…[ There are] two kinds of beauty: one that results from instinct and another which would come from studying. The combination of the two, with its necessary modifications, produces certainly a great and very complicated richness, which the art critic must devote himself to discover….

Art has just gone through a long period of aberration caused by physics, chemistry, mechanics and the study of nature. Artists having lost all their savagery, having lost no more instincts, one could even say imagination, went astray on every path, looking for productive elements which they did not have enough strength to create. Consequently, they act only as a disorderly crowd, they feel frightened like lost ones when they are alone. That is why solitude must not be advised for everyone, since one must have strength to be able to bear it and act alone.

There’s a lot more in this letter than Gauguin’s thoughts on solitude. An artist must learn to art alone. It is in solitude where thoughts come and go freely without the harsh priority of daily chores. When an artist learns to be alone, they gain control of their environment. Like baby turtles they must learn to get from the nest to the ocean without getting lost or snatched up on the way. This requires some instinct and once alone, it requires study. There is an art in arting alone. There is a space where artists must meet themselves and say ok we’re in this together and I’m not leaving you here to drown. It does take a faith in yourself and a great faith in your art.

According to  Gauguin thought of himself as “a savage beyond the taint of civilization.” He escaped European civilization and fled to Polynesia where he spent his life painting. All while being pressured by his family to return to business. He painted alone so alone in fact that he did not even have the support of his own wife and family Until. The. Day. He. Died.

He’s right when he says solitude requires strength. I do, however, believe that solitude should be for everyone.

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“As I can”

This summer I slowed down on a lot of my writing. Worked on the screenplay and some poetry here and there but mostly just backed off and you know what? I realized I have been working my booty off the past two years and not realizing it. And not appreciating my own best efforts. Not in a bragging type of way but in a way that made me realize This Is my best effort. And I feel like the artist Eyck reached through time and confirmed that for me.

Jan Van Eyck is a Flemish painter from the 15th century. Below is what scholars believe is a self-portrait of him titled Portrait of a Man in a Turban

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From Wikipedia

Above the portrait painted on the frame which isn’t show here (but you can see it here) the words As I can or “Als Ich Can” written in Greek are painted on the frame. Now there are different ways that line has been interpreted. One is that it is simply a self portrait and he is playing on the pun Ich and his last name Eyck.

Another interesting idea is that as I can is coming from part of a motto that scribes would put at the end manuscripts that they have copied. They would write the entire motto “As I can not as I would.” Or in other words this is the best I can do, I wish I can do better. So he dropped I wish I could do better and just wrote As I can or This is the best I can do.

For some of us artists this is a profound realization. Coming to the place where you accept that you are doing your best work and having the ability to appreciate that. I think that this is a portrait of that moment for him. He found his niche his sweet spot. Makes me wonder if he ever looked at sculptures or mathematicians and thought man I wish I could be more them. But learned to find joy in the talents he excelled in. Oil paints, adding depth, and making sure to add the minute details made his work stand out from the rest even to this day. His works evoke feelings, thoughts, curiosity, and even with me his work confirmed that I need to accept my best efforts for my best efforts.

 

Here’s a blog post on the MacDonald Sisters some inspiring female artists

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not my business

is she black 
no she’s


⊕ white


 

is she loved by any other

than

the one that’s love is pure

?

it holds her down

*it- a woman, not a companion

Because companions required the stuff she didn’t

have to give

she buried them

along with pure love

in a grave

 

*it held her down

while he pounded

while he finished

 

only to call the next|                                                    |morning and ask

 

How’d you like it?

 

She, a business woman

couldn’t say

“me too”

because maybe he
changed maybe she’s

wrong

 

She changed though

no longer

purely loved no longer

a virgin

 

Held down by
strength

Held down by- not

a companion

 

-Saschia Johnson

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Skin Show

 

Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne was a post-impressionist painter born January 19th 1839 in France. Cézanne felt that art should go hand in hand with nature. In a letter to one of his pupils, Emile Zola, he says, ” But you know all the pictures painted inside, in the studio, will never be as good as the things done outside.” He felt that an artist should see nature in a way that no one has seen it before. That they must make a vision for themselves. Not in an extremely cryptic way, but by being fully conscious of their own sensations. Of  both feelings and visual sensations in unison. And then, using intelligence, organize it into their work.

I really like that he says we must make visions for ourselves. I think at this point it’s so easy for people to say “everything’s been done” but I don’t think everything’s been done. If we take things that have already been done and mingle it with our own beliefs and experiences I truly believe we could create something that’s never been done. However if we get too caught up on trying to create the thing that hasn’t been done, we miss out on the act of creating. And that’s where the connection, or the uniqueness, lies. I don’t think creating something that hasn’t been created yet is as important as creating something that truly reflects who you are. And to create something that truly reflects who you are requires a consciousness of yourself, your feelings, your experiences, and the world through your eyes.

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Thanks for reading check out some more art tidbits

Artist Life

Odilon Redon

16 things that are part of the creative process

Pierre Puvis De Chavannes

 

Information from, Theories Of Modern Art by Herschel B Chipp

Pictures from, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_C%C3%A9zanne

 

 

Jan Toorop

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According to Mutualart.com, “Jan Toorop was a Dutch visual artist who was born in 1858. He has had numerous gallery and museum exhibitions, including at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and at the Rijksmuseum. Many works by the artist have been sold at auction, including ‘Portret van mevrouw M.J. de Lange – Portrait of Mrs M.J. de Lange’ sold at Christie’s Amsterdam ‘TWENTIETH CENTURY ART INCLUDING BELGIAN ART’ in 2005 for $964,318.

I don’t know much about art sales but that’s a lot of money. It’s not only impressing that he sold a piece for that much but that he dabbled in many different styles of art including book covers, sketches, and portraits. And according to Wikipedia, Toorop was the center of an artist group in the seaside town Domburg, Walcheren, Zeeland.

The versatility in Toorop’s art is astounding! Here’s a link to see more of Toorop’s art showing how versatile he truly was.

https://aboutartnouveau.wordpress.com/2016/05/19/jan-toorop-1858-1928/ 

 

 

Featured Pic

https://krollermuller.nl/en/jan-toorop-the-three-brides

Article Info

https://www.mutualart.com/Artist/Jan-Toorop/AA106B46AF56C7D4/Biography

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Toorop#Biography

Gracie at the Siege of Troy

Gracie at the Siege of Troy
By: Geoff Blanchett

Upon the battered shores of Troy
did Gracie arise
from the lapping waves.

As the armies of Agamemmnon charged
the walls, Gracie followed
in their wake, the marks of
her claws in the sand
the only trace of her path,
her triangular head
split wide in a grin,
her tongue lolling
almost to the sand,
her eyes bright
and eager.

She came upon
the fallen bulk of Achilles
face down in a pool
of seafoam and blood,
his last drops of life
leaching away
from the shattered remnants
of his foot.

Any true-hearted warrior would
have ended his misery,

but Gracie
was meant
for other tasks.

So she galloped away
into the billowing steams
of war,

and there, on a nearby dune,
mighty Hector
loomed over
the beaten Petrochalus,
his sword raised
for the kill.

One with hatred,
Or at least righteous fury,
in her heart might have come
to the boy’s defense,
and struck out with crushing blows
opposing the bullying hulk,

but Gracie
was lost in other thoughts,
and she passed on,

loping along the shoreline,
where the Trojan
and Mycaenean blood

was beginning to mingle
in rivulets
of bitter wine,
and the screams
of the dying
mingled with the ravenous squawks
of circling gulls.

At last,
with the city gates
looming above her,
Gracie caught sight of her quarry.

She let loose
a howl of joy and,
as her grin enveloped her,
dashed off in pursuit,

as just beyond her reach,
cowardly Paris
ran for his life, howling
to his gods for mercy

as Gracie’s hot breath
cleaned the sand
off his untouched heels.

 

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Geoff Blanchette is a writer and actor based in Westerly, RI