“I remember only ideas and sensations.” (Ulysses, the Corrected Text, page 7.)
I’m sure I read this passage the numerous times I set out to read Ulysses. I didn't notice it, however, until I heard it read aloud recently. I was struck by how it treats ideas and sensations as aspects of knowing, and how knowing is entangled with and informed by the sensory experience of perception.
Perceptions are the results of sensation. Ideas are the products of cognition
Experiencing place is a complex multilayered experience. My earliest memories of place help me recall what I was feeling at the time, sounds — what people were saying, music, birds, traffic, animals — also smells, taste, weather.
Visual memories are a significant source of access to experiences of place. They are interwoven with knowledge acquired through study and travel.
My artistic and intellectual world is refracted through an amalgam of fragments from various categories of knowledge of place.
I like being in Zürich. It is visually and culturally engaging.
Paris is important to me. The city has its own page in the website.
Where Cézanne lived and worked.
In the third week of October 2018, I visited Cézanne’s studio, and the quarry Bibémus, one of the places where he painted. I found Bibémus to be compellingly, almost painfully, beautiful.
When I observed in person the subjects of various paintings from the locations where he made them, Cézanne’s reorganization of the optical reality of the motifs was more clearly evident than was apparent from looking at prints and photographs. It is obvious that Cézanne was indifferent to depicting beauty and was concerned, instead, with rearranging the compositional elements of what he was looking at, in order to create visually satisfactory paintings.
[Add Pissaro and Cézanne paintings of “View of the Hermitage at Pontoise” with a caption.]
Our son Malcolm at la tour Eiffel.
background image on
I took the above photograph in the Bibémus Quarry on the spot designated as the location where the artist made the painting. Standing where Professor Loran photographed the mountain, and where Cézanne painted it, enabled me to see how remarkable Cézanne's departure from depiction in favor of abstraction was.
I was fortunate to have studied with Loran, and, fifty years later, to have seen for myself the basis of his contribution to understanding the development of modern art.
Erle Loran took the photograph below, and published it in the April, 1930, edition of The Arts (p. 528). He included the photo in the 1959 second edition of his book “Cézanne's Composition” (p. 60).
The photograph also appears, on page 501, of the first volume of Rewald’’s catalogue resonné of Cézanne's work, published in 1998. The caption reads, “Motif for No. 837. (Photograph John Rewald, circa 1935)”.
Going where Professor Loran had gone, and establishing a personal connection to those places, was an acknowledgement of his influence, and a recognition of the importance of his work.
Loran’s caption from the April, 1930 issue of The Arts.
“This view of the motif is a composite of two photographs. Small trees now obscure most of the mountain form this point, and it was necessary to cut them away (in the photograph) and insert a view of the mountain from a position slightly to the right the combination is presented in the interest of clarity only and is in no way intended to fortify the arguments of the analysis.”
The photograph to the right is of birch trees and spruce trees in the boreal forest near University of Alaska in Fairbanks. Below is a painting based on the photograph. The painting diverges considerably from a somewhat literal rendition of the scene.
For the last forty years I have spent part of every summer in Montana.
Angeles National Forest-Highway 39, Angeles Crest Highway, Highway 2, Cajon Pass, Mount Wilson Trail, Mount Baden Powell, Old Baldy, Mount San Antonio, Camp Mountain View, Pine Beatles.
The Sierra Nevada - Owens Valley, Yosemite, Mount Whitney, Mono Pass.
My First Summer in the Sierra, John Muir; Up and Down California: The Journal of William H. Brewer, The Thousand Mile Summer, Yosemite Trails, J. Smeaton Chase.
Mendocino, Fort Bragg Studio, Bolinas, Oysters
Surfing in the early 1960’s
Two Years Before the Mast, Richard Henry Dana; California Coast Trails, J. Smeaton Chase.
Belmont Shore in 1946 and 1947
Versions of the motif of the above photograph have provided the basis for numerous paintings.
1948, when I was a three year - old toddler on a ranch fifty miles from Santa Fe, summers in Santa Fe, Uncle Howell's dude ranch, “The Lazy Ray”, near Jemez Springs.
The Daybooks of Edward Weston,
Taos Moderns: memories of what I have seen, read, and experienced.
Toddler on the Ranch