I was trying to paint a picture today, but seems the color i was using was just a pigment of my imagination...


A book, a movie, a mouse pad, a visit in the Netherlands and a journey in time to a different mental mood, a different way of being, of seeing, of painting.



You cant sell news stories that have data and cautious predictions. Where is the panic? Where is the impending doom? C'mon people , give me something to work with here…

    Opinions / Science / Theory of Relative Ignorance  

..and as I was a yuppy marketing and advertising executive for the better part
of a decade, I am not really impressed with stories of selling your soul to the devil...

    Art & Culture / Music / Blues / Robert Johnson  

Jan Vermeer - The Northern light

The girl with the pearl earring. That's all you need to say and people know who you are talking about. Amazing how the power of the media echoes importance of art pieces in different intervals and they keep on coming back to you in different forms, by different people, while all celebrating the original moment of creation.

A book, a movie, a mouse pad, a visit in the Netherlands and a journey in time to a different mental mood, a different way of being, of seeing, of painting.
When I think of Vermeer I have the taste of crab salad in my mouth, the best crab salad you have ever had. A crab salad sandwich if you want to be precise. A crab salad sandwich in a beautiful quite coffee shop in Utrecht if you really want to be precise.

Vermeer didn’t come from Utrecht and as far as I know never even visited Utrecht. He was from delft with its famous art and artisan scene. So why Utrecht? Because I was passing there, and  stopped in this beautiful small coffee shop on a sunny winter afternoon. As I was sitting there enjoying my sandwich, I looked around and realized I was inside a Vermeer painting. It wasn’t that people were wearing 17th century cloths and pouring milk from big jugs by the window. No, it was just the light, that famous clear as crystal yet soft and diffused daylight coming in through thin layer of Dutch clouds and a slightly dirty window glass.

When you look closely at Vermeer's work you can see amazing details, beautiful composition and arrangement of people and objects, and what might seem like semi-composite views , showing a little more than the range our normal gaze would cover. All of these details can be found in most of the painters in his time, but Vermeer had light on his side.

He had the understanding, like Caravaggio before him, of light, the secret of that mysterious alchemy that happens when rays of beautiful light hit the skin of the subject , the reaction of shadow from a close window on the folds of the dress, milk running from a pot, hitting the table. The secret of soft northern light.

Some say Vermeer used a 'camera obscura' to create his images, which might give a hint to that extra diffusion of light. A camera obscura might help with precision drawing and composition, but it is nothing but a tool. Helping wheels. It will not take you anywhere you are not going yourself.

And Vermeer always liked to have some 'help' When playing with light. A floor tiled black and white is not only typical to the period and location, but is a great tool to show the artful way the shadow falls on it. Maps and textiles hanging on the wall give a wide range of three dimensional crease and fold game , where light is seen caressing them as it hits the wall.

It was one of those tools Vermeer used that made him the legend he is. Vermeer used a lot of pearl earnings in his paintings, both as symbols of opulence and wealth but mainly just because it was so much fun painting a pearl , completely round and reflectively seductive, or seductively reflective under each new ray of light.
"the girl with the pearl earring " is considered the 'Mona Lisa' of the north, with its mysterious gaze, half turned away, and the large, almost exaggerated pearl earning.

personally I think this painting exceeds the magic its Italian counterpart has, if only for the level of simplicity in the composition, something I value in good art.

As a photographer I have tried many times to emulate this "Vermeer lighting" using transparent fabrics, reflection on cardboard and walls, and even diffusion glass put as close as possible to the subjects face. Had a lot of interesting results, but Vermeer manages to keep the secret close to his heart and canvas and I guess I am doomed to keep on trying.


JAN VERMEER http://youtu.be/EXRZGzRw-4M
GIRL WITH PEARL EARING (BOOK) http://youtu.be/TL1fTzsdb4E