Jaynes Your Way

Here are my thoughts about films, life, and what not. If you don't like them I'll give your money back.

Que Seurat--get out of the studio

11 December, 2011

I spent some time at MoMA a few weeks ago and enjoyed some great new exhibits and some old favorites. I try to see Starry Night--one of my absolute favorites--every time I visit MoMA. There was a larger than normal crowd so I circled around the room looking at everything else for a while.  In one of the corners was three or four paintings by Georges Seurat.

Photo by: MoMA
The placard next to the Evening, HonFleurreads:

Seurat spent the summer of 1886 in the French coastal town of Honfleur in order to “wash the light of the studio” from his eyes, he said. He meticulously applied at least twenty-five colors here, in the form of thousands of dots carefully placed on the canvas. Long bands of clouds echo the horizon and the breakwaters on the beach. The vast sky and tranquil sea meet at the horizon line, bringing a sense of spacious light to the picture; yet from up close they also have a peculiar visual density. Seurat added the wooden frame later, hand-painting it with the same technique to add greater luminosity and suggest the extension of the image past its boundaries.

The quote "wash the light of the studio off my eye's really interested me. Could he have painted this if he had stayed in his studio? Probably, but what would have been lost if "the light of the studio" was his only point of reference. The above picture doesn't do it justice, but the color scheme is mesmerizing.

It was a good reminder for me that you need to get out and experience things something anything! Probably something that Stefan Sagmeister describes better in his TED talk describing the power of time off.

I'm going to adopt the attitude of "wash the light of the computer screen off my eye's" and try to get out of screens, which is going to be hard, but maybe I'll see something worth making or doing.


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