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Visual Discoursing

« La belle noiseuse »

That was the title of a film featuring the late Michel Piccoli in the role of an aging painter seeking to complete his magnum opus, or what he called his “first posthumous painting” to his gallerist.

La belle noiseuse, or the bothersome beauty, was initially the model who became his wife. In the film, it is now a recalcitrant chain smoking beautiful model who will not stop talking and who, out of frustration, will ask him “What are you thinking about when you ask me to take this or that pose?”

His answer was: “I do not think … I do what my eyes require me to do” … that is what I interpret as visual discoursing … which is my current preoccupation to fight preventive confinement.


The three trees

 A rather peaceable scene, per the feature photographic image, I started to sketch to uncover a graphic structure as shown below.

three trees … first step to abstraction

I changed colors of trees and shadow pattern from brown to mauve and blue respectively, as a first step toward what I was envisioning as an abstraction of the scene.

The next step was to schematize land and foliage massing and move toward a radical formal and color scheme as follows

Three trees … second step toward abstraction

The final step was to move from pen and ink, wax pastel and water color to a colored paper collage as the final step toward the level of abstraction my eyes were seeking … subtitled in French!


End words

They are to be the two in this post title, i.e. Visual discoursing … with hopefully more to come!



 “La belle noiseuse”: French film directed by Jacques Rivette, featuring Michel Piccoli, Jane Birkin and Emmanuelle Béart, 1991

All image and sketches, credit Maurice Amiel


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