Thursday, February 14, 2019

Thursday Thoughts...

“It’s not hard to paint a design,” Hopper told me dolefully. “Nor to paint a representation of something you can see. But to express a thought in painting–that is hard. Why? Because thought is fluid. What you put on canvas is concrete, and this tends to direct thought. The more you put on canvas, the less of your original thought remains.” 

Alexander Eliot, author, critic, and historian

I am no connosieur of art - I have no training, no study of art history nor much following of key or important artists, but I have heard of Hopper and know some of of his work.

I love what he says here - about how hard it is to maintain the essence of a thought once you commit it to reality in a two or three dimensional form. Thought is indeed fluid and mercurial and almost untetherable.

Sometimes you can capture thought in words - but even then I sometimes miss my own point, or can't quite keep up with myself.  It is hard to translate thought into anything really - actions often limp behind in their simplicity or crudeness; painting needs to be so perfectly executed to capture and express thought; sculpture and books take so so long to make that the thought can be stultified and severely moderated and changed by the point of completion. So much of the success of thought translation comes down to skill and expertise.

These words give an insight into the trouble we can have translating thought, executing an idea and feeling as if we have captured it or resolved it well.  Perhaps that trickiness is why we keep at it?

What was I thinking???


  1. You have beautifully articulated the difficulty in translating an idea into reality. The very movements and actions required can warp or diminish the vision into something else, but without the effort of bringing the idea into being, it will vanish completely and have no effect on anyone.

    1. Dana - what a great response - you have hit upon how tricky just the movements and actions can be and how they can limit translation. And also how if you don't try, then nothing will be there. Such a wonderful life we live grappling with it all...go well.


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