Sensory Experience of Perception


“I remember only ideas and sensations.” (Ulysses, the Corrected Text, page 7.) 

I’m sure I read this passage the several 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.


 Zürich is visually and culturally engaging. I like being there. Ich fühle mich in Zuri zuhause.

The Limmat where it flows from the Zürichsee


Paris ...

Paris is important. The city has its own page in the website. 

visit my Paris page

Paris, and worn out shoes, German Expressionist Painters, Kandinsky


Aix en Provence

Where Cézanne lived and worked. 

 In the third week of October 2018, I visited Cézanne’s studio. I also visited the quarry Bibémus, a locale where he frequently painted. I found Bibémus to be visually engaging and compellingly 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 even 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 arranging the compositional elements of what he was looking at, in order to create visually satisfactory paintings.

Cézanne’s studio. September 17, 2018

Art is Really Important

Gurdon Miller




Cafe Odeon





Our son Malcolm at the Eiffel Tower. 

background image off

Mont Sainte Victoire  from where Cézanne painted it


I took this photograph in the Bibémus Quarry on the spot  where the artist made the painting. Standing where Professor Loran photographed the mountain, and where Cézanne painted it, enabled me to see how extensive 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)”.




more about Cézanne's work





Quarry at Bibémus


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. 

Mt. Sainte Victoire Seen from the Bibémus Quarry.
Painted by Cézanne in 1897, it resides in the Baltimore Museum of Art. The image is in the Public Domaine.


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 from 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 the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. Below is a painting based on the photograph. The painting is not an illustration of the scene.  

Bog painting


For the last forty years I have spent part of every summer in Montana.

Looking west across Flathead Lake


The Mountains of California

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. 

Coastal California

Mendocino, Fort Bragg Studio, Bolinas, Oysters

Surfing in Southern California in the early 1960’s

I have read Two Years Before the Mast, by Richard Henry Dana, and California Coast Trails, by J. Smeaton Chase several times. These books portray times and places in California that resonate strongly with my sense of place.  

Belmont Shore in 1946 and 1947

Versions of the motif of these photographs have provided the basis for numerous paintings



Photographing in Fort Bragg

New Mexico

1948, when I was a three year - old toddler on a ranch.

Summers in Santa Fe.

Uncle Howell’s dude ranch, “The Lazy Ray”, near Jemez Springs.

The Daybooks of Edward Weston.

Taos Moderns. 

Toddler on the Ranch

The ranch was in the northwest corner of the state, fifty miles east of Farmington by dirt road, and two hundred miles from Santa Fe.

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