Sunday, August 29, 2010

Riverbank, reflections; Florianopolis; cliche

Riverbank, reflections, oil on canvas, 10 x 9 cm

A beautiful day: the tide doesn't enter here 'till later, so no fishermen today. I stood on the bridge in the sunshine.

At weekends, Florianopolis doesn't get moving until midday at earliest: even a relatively late riser such as I can wander about in relative tranquility in the morning. It's an odd city, provincial in mood, slow moving, with a limited cultural infrastructure.

It is as if it hasn't awoken to the fact that its population has risen now to over 400, 000. At weekends the centre feels very dead, the nocturnal sectors of the population drive in search of fun to Lagoa, or to large, bland shopping centres.

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This subject of today's picture is not new, but is it a cliche? Or is it simply the sort of scene that will always appeal to landscapists? To me, a cliche is a catchphrase: it has an glib cleverness about it: I don't think the mere fact of a subject being unoriginal makes it a cliche.

It's often better, in any case not to worry about things being cliches or not, at least until after the picture has been made. That is because, I think, as artists we sometimes have to work ideas through our systems, however uncomortable that makes us feel, or how grotesque the results: we have follow them through to their conclusions, good or bad.

Ergo, we should try to hold off critisising our work until some time after it has been made, or we will never succeed in working our more dubious ideas out of ourselves, and will fail also to liberate the better ones.

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