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 Loser's Guide to Life

Friday, January 13, 2006


One of my relatives was enamoured of this picture. It's unusual because it looks like a snapshot and conveys such a momentary sensation of an intensity that a photographer would count himself lucky to catch. The painter was an unsentimental man but by no means a cynic, rather an exacting, eager observer. His perfunctory treatment of surface shows a true interest in the appearance of things, which is no paradox, because an observer doesn't really record in his mind's eye the web and woof of somebody's hat. Nor is this merely an impression. It is the thing itself, and we build our visual impressions from a spare yet accurate shorthand.

I have sometimes wondered why the girl appears to be wall-eyed. It would have been simple to avoid that, in a painting, so presumably it is intentional. Does that mean anything? I think the purpose is to make the pictue wider and to prevent the viewer's natural desire to stop at the subject's gaze and query it. There is no focus there, and the viewer has to look at this painting as a detail of something much larger and, again, it is both a challenge and an inspiration.


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Watching TV is a good way to tear yourself away from the computer.