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- by Nancy, January 12, 2010
Pierre Bonnard, Dining Room Table On the Garden, 1934-35
Pierre Bonnard, painter, lover of poetry, did most of the work emblematic of his mature style in his late fifties. It was during this time period that he moved with his wife, Marthe, whom you can barely see on the margins of the painting above if you look closely, to their house in the countryside of France. Out of the city, away from the noise and blur, he could contemplate the quiet domestic scenes flooded with color and light that fascinated him. I’ve been thinking a lot about color and light in my own paintings, coming to the conclusion lately that it is light and an unusual use of color - one that invites a poetic reading rather than a literal one - that most interests me. I’ve been looking at color everywhere, not only in painting, but in life all around me.
This tart I find particularly glorious. Look at the deep blue and gold and rose of those baked berries. There’s nothing else quite like that.
This is what I was thinking about when I painted this picture of the purple beans I grew in my backyard one summer. As I continue painting I would like to paint my emotional response to my subject; the essence of the thing and not the thing itself. It’s a process that I’ve only begun. Bonnard is quoted as saying that he wanted to portray the moment of walking into a room for the first time. If you turn from your computer and look behind you into your life, what do you see? A dining room table, a freshly baked tart, a handful of beans? Or is it the quality of the light and the colors it illuminates that will remain in memory long after everything else is gone?