Though I love spontaneous adventure, there are those which demand a quest. What could I possibly search for that mattered? I needed something to hold my attention from Greece to Amsterdam and amuse me in Canada for years to come. I'm not very multifaceted in terms of passion, but art endures me like a faithful dog, so art it is.
I pondered my copies of Rembrandt, VanEyck and Degas. I considered the abstracts and stared into the googly eyes of a wall of Buscemis.
Angels sang and doves fluttered around the room as I admitted to the gods, yet again, I am not a good painter. Fatefully, there are muses who hold hope for me otherwise I would have been born a baker. Regardless of my unfortunate skill I was ordained a painter by some ancient spirit before I was me, and it is far too late for rehab. It was time to step into the light. Not metaphorical but actual light. Sunlight in particular. The kind you yearn for in February and then burns your face off in August.
Light became my quest. It seems I have no regard for it. I treat it like a casual lover. Interested for a bit, then I wander from boredom into fantasy and embellish the rest. Monet quoted his teacher Boudin, "…appreciate the sea, the light, the blue sky" and then remarked "this is how I came to understand nature and learned to love it passionately". He loved his light, trapped it in colour and pinned it to his canvass like a perfect butterfly specimen.
Every artist believes the sun shines more lusciously in their town than any other. VanGogh begged Gauguin to come to the glorious sun of south of France, Cezanne wrote to Pissaro of Marselles "The sun is so terrific here that it seems to me as if the objects were silhouetted not only in black and white, but in blue, red, brown and violet."
DaVinci said "A gray day provides the best light." Similarly, Turner and Constable (who hated each other) found their mastery beneath the stormy and dreary skies of Britain, while Vermeer(the master of light) and my darling Rembrandt were enchanted by the light of the Netherlands which caressed their subjects through medieval windows.
Degas would argue "Daylight is too easy. What I want is difficult: the atmosphere of lamps or moonlight." Picasso continued the discussion saying "..artificial light suits me a great deal better [than sunlight] it's absolutely steady, and much more exciting."
Finally, Caravaggio would have waited until the still of darkness to paint under the glow of candlelight.
As my attention span is limited and I am no Galileo, I decided to just find a little white object to paint in each city, send it home (so I could not compare them) and back in Canada, I would have hundreds of canvases to testify as to which area boasted the best sunlight.
I could't decide on a subject. It had to be small, smooth, white and unbreakable. I thought about some nostalgic token of my moms, a mini Rodin, a box, my face, a ball? I decided on a bird I found at a Dollar Store. It was covered in glitter so I tried to deglitz it in a sink of water while shoving a hard boiled egg down my face. Watching the sunlight play on the glittery water and the eggshells on the counter, I realized it should be an egg. Eggs are everywhere and I love them. I can paint them and then eat them. Eggs it is.
Oh best laid plans. ;) Let the quest begin!
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