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« Hindu Art | Main | Terry Teachout Now »

July 14, 2003

What I Did on my Summer Vacation


As you know, sometimes it takes a while to get your film developed and show people what you did on vacation. Well, the same is true of me; I took a while to take pictures of some of the sketches I made on my recent Hawaiian vacation.

So what did I and my lovely wife do with ourselves for the week (in the absence of our three dearly beloved but quite purposefully left behind children?) Well, I got up early and went walking along the shore watching the sun come up over the rocks…

My wife, who is much more energetic than I, spent time playing tennis near the beach (this is the court; I was going to put some players in but I had a few too many tropical drinks and decided to leave well enough alone)…

We lolled around watching the ocean (while drinking, of course) under the trees…

And I stole a floral arrangement from the hotel and spent an afternoon working in the room (while still, of course, drinking), as my appetite for painting under the mid-day sun had waned somewhat.

Hope this is no more boring than looking at photographs of somebody else’s vacation.



posted by Friedrich at July 14, 2003


Damn, you're good. I'd take the top one (of rocky coast line) over any amount of Michael's Hindu art.

Posted by: Will Duquette on July 14, 2003 12:53 AM

Wow. I'm impressed. Much better than regular vacation photos.

Posted by: Mark on July 14, 2003 12:53 PM

Lovely! What's your medium? What's the surface?

I think there's some thinking to be done here -- the relationship between art and vacation...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on July 14, 2003 3:12 PM

Maybe it's the relationship between art and tropical drinks!

Thanks for your feedback. This paintings are acrylic on canvas-covered cardboard. The pictures of the rocky coast and two trees are true plein-air sketches; the tennis court involved making some preliminary drawings before it was painted; and the still-life was a sort of studio effort. The tennis court picture was a deliberate if perhaps humorous attempt to create a neo-classical composition (i.e., one made up chiefly of vertical and horizontal lines and a succession of planes in depth)--an exercise which left me with more appreciation for the subtleties of Poussin's compositions than any amount of art historical study, if not with a great masterpiece. (Well, you gotta try new stuff, if only to learn your limits.)

The weirdest thing about representational painting is realizing that representation, per se, is never an end in itself, but only a taking off place. Once you get a representational effort launched, you have to ask yourself "what do I want to emphasize here? Progression in depth? Weight? Texture? Color harmonies? Action? Etc.?, Etc.?" And, since all of these things will be present in some fashion, you have to figure out solutions to the ones you don't want to emphasize that won't detract from what you do want to emphasize. A very absorbing intellectual puzzle, even if conducted with modest skill. Maybe that does make it particularly appropriate for vacations.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on July 14, 2003 4:16 PM

What does it mean if I can't judge art without knowing the size of the work?

Posted by: j.c. on July 14, 2003 4:44 PM

Wow, JC---that's a question that seems designed to make men a little, ummm, uncomfortable!

Posted by: cindyincidentally on July 14, 2003 8:18 PM

Is Art a guy?

No wonder I keep missing the point of some of these posts! I thought they were talking about paintings and sculpure and stuff.

Posted by: Deb on July 14, 2003 9:09 PM

And doesnt that make MvB rather, um, bold asking FvB about his "medium" and "surface"?

Posted by: Deb on July 14, 2003 9:11 PM

But if Art IS a guy...this whole website just took on new and vibrant meaning!!!

Posted by: cindyincidentally on July 14, 2003 9:56 PM

I really like the composition of the tennis court picture. At first I thought it was a darned good photo and I was pleasantly surprised to find it was a painting. I guess I'd better check out Poussin again.

Posted by: Graham Lester on July 14, 2003 9:57 PM

J.C. :

All the canvases are 12" by 16".

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on July 15, 2003 1:16 AM

Now that is the way to take a vacation! How very nineteenth century of you. Please go on vacation again and do this again some time, but not for very long. More pictures, please.

Posted by: Felicity on July 15, 2003 3:12 AM

So glad you didn’t put players in the tennis court – I don’t really like people. Stick to empty spaces and stuffed animals, please.

12 – 16 is a nice size – so easy to hang. However, imagined the floral arrangement at least twice that. Blame poster-size Van Gogh prints.

Posted by: j.c. on July 15, 2003 5:17 AM

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