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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Cezanne’

If isolation tempers the strong, it is the stumbling-block of the uncertain.

–Paul Cezanne
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I spend a lot of time alone in the isolation of my studio. Fortunately for me, it is the place in the world where I am most comfortable and feel completely myself.

It is the place where I can feel unrestrained to free the mind and go wherever it takes me. The place where I can shed the uncertainty I find in the outer world and feel free to daydream. The place where I can summon up pictures that exist only inside myself. A place to study. To listen. To see.

It is my my university, my library, my theatre, my monastery and my place of refuge.

My haven.

When I am out of the studio, I am all the while trying to get back to it.

When others come into my studio, the dynamic of that place changes and I feel myself suddenly self-conscious and a bit uncomfortable, like I am standing in someone else’s home.

The visitors’ eyes become my eyes and I notice things I never see on a day to day basis. The cat hair on the floor that needs to be swept up. The paint splatters on the wall or a fingerprint in paint on the wall switchplate. The windows that need cleaning. The piles of papers that I have been meaning to go through for too many months.  The paintbrushes soaking in murky water scattered throughout the place or the start of a not-too-good painting that will most likely never see the outer world.

In that moment, my perfect castle of isolation becomes a hovel of uncertainty.

But the castle remarkably reappears once I am alone again. The uncertainty recedes and I begin to feel myself once more.

My isolation is my default state of being.

I understand exactly what Cezanne is saying at the top. I have been more comfortable alone than in the company of others since I was a child. I don’t know if that is a strength or just a neurotic peccadillo. But I know that if I ever find uncertainty in my isolation, I will have lost my footing in this world.

But, thankfully, that hasn’t happened yet…

 

 

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Paul CezanneThere is an exhibit at the Philadelphia Art Museum that features about 60 works from Paul Cezanne as well as works of about 17 artists that were directly influenced by Cezanne.  There is work from masters such as Picasso, Matisse, and Max Beckmann as well as modern painters like Ellsworth Kelly and Brice Marden,  all influenced in some form by his work.Cezanne Mont Sainte Victoire

Some take something from his use of color or his compositional forms.  Others takes from his brushwork and application of paint.  The interesting thing is how each translates what they see in Cezanne’s work and puts that into their own work, which at first glance has absolutely no connection with Cezanne.  For me, seeing how another artist assimilates his influences into his work actually draws me closer to their work.  It gives a little insight into a part of their mind that I may not see in their work normally.  It basically creates a common bond that helps me be better appreciate the evolution of their work.

cezanne-estaque My attraction to Cezanne’s work comes in a couple of different forms.  First, there is an underlying warmth in his colors that really hits for me and always makes me comfortable when looking at his work.  There is an inviting quality in his color.  Secondly, I always admired his repeated use of certain subjects such as Mont Sainte Victoire (above) which he painted about a hundred times.  You can see that this was not mere repetition, each piece having a unique quality and freshness.

Actually, freshness is a word that comes to mind when I think of Cezanne and the allure of his work.  Most feel in the present.  Most have a most modern feel.  I get the sense when looking at one that it could have been created today and has bonds to our times.  That is one of those indefinable qualities that artists seek for their own work and can sometimes see in the work of others.  I suppose that is why artists borrow from other artist- to attain that sense of timelessness for their own work. 

At least that’s what I seek in the work of others.Cezanne

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