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ROUSSEAU'S FLUTIST

Nondream journal entry and feltpen drawing, 1983/3/23, 11x14", by Chris Wayan

 a psychedelic scribbly version of Henri Rousseau's painting of a flutist in the jungle. Feltpen by Wayan. Click to enlarge.


Sort of a psychedelic scribbly vision of Henri Rousseau's flute player in the jungle, in his famous painting The Dream, standing on the right, serenading the woman on the sofa. Only now she's the one playing the flute, to deer and herons...

Why Rousseau? I've been studying his paintings. He had a sure hand with whatever he could intuit, yet he didn't understand perspective. To fix perspective problems, he'd find a well-done painting with a similar scene and copy the layout! But he didn't learn the underlying rules from such models.

Henri wanted to draw what a thing "really", academically, looks like, but that conflicts with how the thing feels to him--that is, how it actually looks (to Henri!) He wrestled with a problem like mine. A wise peasant or bourgeois paints for others not self--it's a trade, you want sales. Unromantic!

So Henri tries to set down, using colored goo, entities which are quite different and not easily recorded in such a medium. Sensations, experiences on looking at or imagining things. He respects others' eyes, and thus strains to paint things as they "ought" to look; but his most successful paintings are the ones where he fails in his ambition to paint the right the right thing, while succeeding in painting something odd that DOES successfully encapsulate his original feeling. Not just an emotion, but his intuitive grasp of a seen.

Oops. Scene.

I'm aiming for this myself, without knowing how to do it. Just hope it happens. I need to let my strangeness out and not push too hard for elegance or neatness--a little is nice, but too hard and it goes from serene into sterile. I sense a scene or seen intuitively not structurally, but then must communicate what I see in structures to folks living in a world of structures, who see only structures. I'm trying to express--even to MYSELF--my experience, which just isn't physical. I sense energy fields--auras, I'd call them, if I were a hippie.

Rousseau got better when he went ahead and did it wrong. Maybe I will too.



LISTS AND LINKS: Rousseau's painting The Dream - a dream based on that painting: Rose and the Thorn - herons - flutists - felt pen - the arts - creative process - a related viewpoint-experiment: A Vesta on Isig Mountain

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