Thursday, November 25, 2010

Horn of Plenty


For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I thank you for visiting these pages and for leaving your thoughtful notes all year long. 
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Emulating Paul Cézanne

20101102_2429 emulating cezanne

Before I emulated Irving Penn, I tried to emulate Paul Cézanne for a photo assignment in my beginning photography class. I used Apples and Oranges as inspiration...

Paul Cézanne (1839 - 1906), Apples and Oranges

... but it was Still Life with Onions that inspired me to choose Cézanne.

Paul CÉZANNE, Still Life with Onions, 1896-1898

Paul Cézanne, Nature morte aux oignonsentre 1896 et 1898
huile sur toile, H. 66 cm; L.82 cm.

This generously-sized still life commanded my attention during a recent post-impressionist exhibit at the De Young Museum. I suddenly saw Paul Cézanne in a different light. This seemingly simple composition belies the complex use of geometry, colors, and negative space.  But it was much more than the mechanics of this painting that bowled me over. The painter himself expressed it best:
“For an impressionist to paint from nature is not to paint the subject, but to realize sensations”
-Paul Cézanne

Though I still have a lot to learn about lighting, I was reasonably happy with my first attempt. I used Still Life with Basket of Apples for my second try...

Paul Cézanne, Still Life with Basket of Apples
....but I thought is was considerably less successful.

IMG_7880 Emulating Cezanne

I used the wrong perspective, the lighting was all wrong, I didn't have the right sized basket for the apples which threw off the balance, (can you hear the violins?) .... I felt my still life was generally lifeless. Things improved a tad when I added more visual weight on the left side. The lighting was better, but I saw too late that the photo was not properly framed and cropping is strictly forbidden for this assignment.

IMG_7885 emulating cezanne

After a few more tries, I yielded to Master Cezanne's genius and switched to Irving Penn, which proved to be equally challenging. You can view my many attempts here

I appreciated this assignment; I learned a little, but was humbled plenty.
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