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Apples and Orange

Post #1451 • February 4, 2010, 3:40 PM • 66 Comments

Image links to larger version.

Apples and Orange, 2010, acrylic on panel, 9 x 12 inches




February 4, 2010, 4:06 PM

Nice, very Matissean. The dark surrounds on the fruit could be broken here & there.



February 4, 2010, 4:32 PM

Wow. bouncy color.



February 4, 2010, 6:31 PM

You can do better.
Try it again using the same design.


Chris Rywalt

February 4, 2010, 7:22 PM

This looks good but it leaves me wondering: Why blue for the outlines? I know you like to use blue (I can think of a couple of figures using it, at least, and maybe some other still lifes) but is that all? You've recommended to me that I change up my outline colors and I guess you're following your own advice.

I understand you might be trying to lighten up the outlines, the stained-glass-look of the painting. But I think there's an aspect here, and in your other uses of blue, too, where the color kind of displaces the form it surrounds, because it's so pure and unrelated to the form.

It could be the blue is coming through too strongly on my monitor or in the JPEG, though. Of course I'd need to see them in person to judge properly.



February 5, 2010, 2:00 AM

And I, I want the taste of a sour green to pinch my eyebuds just that littlest bit more.

(Thanks for the larger image, I didn't think you ever did that.)



February 5, 2010, 2:12 AM

Nola said she agrees with Opie, and of course, I agree with her (our anniversary is coming up, so it's the least I can do).


Tom Hering

February 5, 2010, 8:36 AM

As is, the dark and heavy surrounds are needed to make the red apples stand out on the red textile. Possibilities for the next version would be to change the border to blue, or a much darker red. Then the surrounds could be done in a delicate way, or done away with all together.

I like the design.


Tom Hering

February 5, 2010, 8:52 AM

I'd also kick the orange half-way up into the creamy area, so the fruit arrangement looks less confined by the textile border.

In short: it only needs a little looser composition, and a little more delicate execution.



February 5, 2010, 10:08 AM

And a good policy all around, MC



February 5, 2010, 11:03 AM

References to Matisse are a stretch at best. Everything that Matisse strived for is missing here.

How do you want the fruit to read? Actually this may be the key to the whole painting. Are the fruits solid forms or diagrams? If they are supposed to be solid forms then the way they sit in the painting controls the pictorial space along with the light and shadow (currently nonexistent) Or, are you going for the stained glass window look? I think the outlines around the fruit is too blunt (fat) and inelegant -- but not forcefully brushy enough to become some sort of abstraction.

The way the lower left corner of the cream area pokes out is questionable. Also the left edge of the cream area being parallel to the edge of the painting might not be the best solution as it flattens the space out.

The blue-green patterns in the cream area are muddled and sloppy looking (the blue dots seem ok) In general I think the drawing (outlines) needs to be more focused. Either tighter and more precise, or clearly more expressionistic and brushy.

The red areas are problematic. I like the luminosity but dislike the way the red just feels sloppily washed over everything which muddles the patterning. If you want the red (brushmarking) to feel continuous then try going back into the patterned areas with white and painting them back in over that.

On the other hand, where this painting might succeed is as anti-painting, as an ironic play mashing up Matisse with children's drawings?



February 5, 2010, 12:44 PM

I don't do irony. And the inspiration isn't children's drawings, but Sengai.



February 5, 2010, 12:46 PM

looks real good Franklin ! Colors great, has a beautiful floating quality.

keep doing and posting them.



February 5, 2010, 12:49 PM

I too think it's matissean. Do some loose landscapes with the same funky colors. i'd love to see it.



February 5, 2010, 12:54 PM

george- wow! I see a whole different painting than you.

I see : Charm, eloquence, joy and beauty.

I'd hang it my wall for sure!


Chris Rywalt

February 5, 2010, 1:35 PM

I can't say that George is entirely wrong here. But I wouldn't want him critiquing my paintings.


Tom Hering

February 5, 2010, 1:45 PM

Hmmm. Judging by the example above, I'd let George critique my work. Critiques are surgery, not massage, and I prefer a sharp knife be used.

Bedside manner is a plus, of course.



February 5, 2010, 1:47 PM

I only challenged the bits I thought were completely mistaken.



February 5, 2010, 1:57 PM

Now, Franklin, you mustn't be curt when such an authority deigns to school you. And in such detail, too. You should be honored and humbled. After all, isn't this what many accuse Greenberg of having done? If Greenberg, a mere scribe and amateur artist, could advise, well, need I say more?


Chris Rywalt

February 5, 2010, 2:19 PM

A sharp knife is good but I'd rather not be left in ribbons, thanks. I like to think I can take criticism but...ouch.



February 5, 2010, 2:25 PM

It's not so much the sharpness of the knife, but rather who's wielding it, how, and why.



February 5, 2010, 2:38 PM

Well as they say; any news is good news. When it appears on your own blog it might not feel that way though. Other than the fact that George is attacking work that I enjoy, the writing itself is clear and articulate. A style of writing that I wish we would see more of.



February 5, 2010, 3:45 PM

F. I was kidding about irony. I take painting very seriously and I am well aware of how hard it is to make a good one. Both my comments were made with the intention of being honestly constructive and should not be construed by anyone as an 'attack.' Since most of your readers are your friends, they are naturally going to try to be positive.

Whatever your inspiration, I think you quit too soon. I would note that this can be a valid decision if you recognize something in the painting which you wish to preserve in its raw state without excessive refinement. However, if this is the case, then it's generally worthwhile making a second version and pushing it farther. (#3)

In light of the above remark, I would question what the painting is and what you thought you wanted it to be. This is the dialogue that has to occur between between you and the painting. What are you settling for that maybe you should do differently? An informed viewer is going to read these questions and answers visually.

For example: The red over the blue outline on the left fruit is nice looking. Precisely how this occurs is important. It could be drawn in/over the blue line. Or like it is here, the color of the fruit could swell up and over the line -- this defines an internal and external edge of the line, softening its heaviness by merging it with the fruit and letting a little blue spill over for edge definition. The red mark slopping out into the background (9 oclock) looks accidental and serves no visual function. It pastes the fruit down onto the ground flattening it out.

This leads us to edges. The fat line defining the fruits has two edges. The blue dots just have one. In all cases the way the edge of one color meets, avoids or overlaps the edge of another color is one of the essences of painting. There isn't any right way to do this but in a good painting, the result is right for the situation.

I think you need to fight with the painting a bit more than you seem willing to do. Since people mentioned Matisse, this painting "Large Reclining Nude"-1935 went through several states which were documented photographically (evidently 22 photos). It took him six months to arrive at the finished composition, which we view fait accompli, as if it was his original vision.



February 5, 2010, 3:57 PM

Here are the photos of the progressibve states of Matisse's "Large Reclining Nude" State photos



February 5, 2010, 4:42 PM

Re #23, I have dates for some of the photos and the set I linked are in two columns of two.
1-2, 9-10
3-4, 11-12
5-6, 13-14
7-8, 15-16


Chris Rywalt

February 5, 2010, 4:47 PM

See, I would've stopped with the first one.



February 5, 2010, 5:20 PM

There was a lady who came into my frame shop all these many years ago. She was taking the "FAMOUS ARTISTS COURSE" which was advertised extensively back then, and everytime she got a crit from them she would come in and show it to me and practically break down in tears. They all sounded like Lesson #1 & 2 above.

Nevertheless, she did everything they said. She never got better and eventaully gave up.



February 5, 2010, 6:43 PM

Opie, you ran a frame shop? I ask because it's something I've long considered as an alternate to my current 9-5 predicament.
I've got all the skills, honed from within a museum environment and any advice would be appreciated. My guess is you'll probably tell me to go hang myself first...



February 5, 2010, 7:12 PM

Dude, it was a long time ago in a medium-sized town with a lot of rich people in it and it was a LOT of work.

I used to farm out most of the frame-making because I was busy all day selling the framing and chatting up the folks. It was less a basic skill job than a public relations job. If you ran a frame shop yourself you would be up all night doing the actual framing work.

I wasn't getting any painting done so I quit and went to work helping one of my rich customers build a collection, which wasn't really work at all and it kept me alive and painting.


that guy

February 5, 2010, 7:48 PM

Opie, someday you know you will have tell the blog crowd about the Mexican horses. Somehow that story put everything in perspective for me at least.



February 5, 2010, 7:53 PM

OP, at least that woman finally did the sensible thing and gave up on something she wasn't suited for. Unfortunately, some people in that situation persist in wasting their time or that of others.



February 5, 2010, 7:57 PM

By the way, Franklin, in the enlarged version of the image, I like the fingerpainting effect, especially in the fruits themselves.



February 5, 2010, 10:12 PM

Tom (# 16): too often surgical critiques turn out to be exploratory, at best, where it gets very specific but doesn't go anywhere useful, amounting to little more than "what I would do if I were doing this thing". I've found that giving too specific suggestions usually doesn't work. An honest, general reaction is about all I ever offer.



February 5, 2010, 10:16 PM

One of the finest tea bowls I've ever seen (early 18th century):

Hagi 1
Hagi 2
Hagi 3
Hagi 4
Hagi 5
Hagi 6
Hagi 7

It is beyond exquisite, but not in a perfect, untouchable Chinese way. It's very beautiful but human, warm, gracefully sensuous and supremely elegant, without being aloof. The foot alone, which is bare, unglazed clay, with its intentional cleft, is like a chocolate dream. Absolutely superb.



February 5, 2010, 10:49 PM

That is a peach, Jack.


Chris Rywalt

February 5, 2010, 11:19 PM

I have noticed, John, that even the most well-intentioned critique from even the best audience members for which you could hope, tend to end up with their trying to turn you into them.

Since I noticed this I've been trying really hard to avoid it in my criticism.



February 5, 2010, 11:55 PM

My kind of pot, Jack.

That's why you only point to what works and what doesn't. Chris, and leave it at that. More or less what John suggested.

I almost always tell my students just 2 things: "Do more of this and less of that" or, much more rarely, "change the color from pink to blue and see what happens."



February 6, 2010, 12:14 AM

The problem with a pot like that, OP, is that even if I managed to get it, I'd feel it was too fine to be with me. It should be someplace like the Freer or the Sackler in DC.


Chris Rywalt

February 6, 2010, 1:06 AM

You could always donate it to the Whitney.


Dr. Jones

February 6, 2010, 2:12 AM



Tom Hering

February 6, 2010, 10:22 AM

John, I've always found specific critiques helpful. But then, I'm able to distinguish between good advice and "this is the way I'd do it" statements.

Good advice is usually just needed reminders about basic rules involving color, composition, etc. (Of course, you need to know the rules to be reminded of them.)



February 6, 2010, 10:47 AM

Yes, Chris, and I could always throw pearls before swine. I don't think so.



February 6, 2010, 11:01 AM

Tom (40) What I assume (but know isn't always true) is that another artist will pay attention to the criticism specifics which touch upon something they have already been (subconsciously) questioning for themselves. Everything else gets dismissed as irrelevant.

In person this kind of dialog takes a different path because its possible to lead the discussion to a certain point, self correcting along the way. It seems less harsh.

That said, I find this painting by Franklin is the most interesting of all the works he's posted to date. In my opinion, it's not completely unresolved but feels much less forced and heavy handed than his earlier work. I think that's promising but it's only one painting so far.



February 6, 2010, 11:02 AM

i'm pleased to have found this blog today from Franklins comments on Winkelmans blog. I feel like I have stumbled upon a great breakfast spot and will be back.

I enjoyed the painting which was the subject of this post. I am delighted with this painting and would put it up over the kitchen table. I would love to see it every day over coffee. it would lend an air of authenticity to my oft perceived humdrum existence.

I was particularly interested in the comment by George on preserving the raw state by continuing the painting on a new canvas.
Each new painting of mine is a continuation of the one before it, a conversation with its predecessors. The decision of when to stop is possibly the greatest factor in painting. (ask me again tomorrow)

In reference to Georg's comments as a whole, I would be honored to have someone look at my work with that much thought. I don't think I'd want to hear what he said though.



February 6, 2010, 11:24 AM

Buy that awesome pot, Jack, if only so you can practice not feeling precious about it.



February 6, 2010, 11:57 AM

Well, that bowl was made to be used, not only admired, though it was meant for special (tea ceremony) use, not as a simple, ordinary tea cup. Considering the rather thin and delicate walls, and the fact it's survived essentially intact for nearly 300 years, it's obvious that it qualifies as denseihin, a prized object that has been treasured and protected accordingly over many generations. I couldn't be comfortable owning it; I'd always be afraid some harm would come to it, which wouldn't have happened (presumably) in a museum setting. Also, it deserves to be admired by many, not just by me.


Chris Rywalt

February 6, 2010, 12:00 PM

I'm having a little trouble holding these conflicting attitudes in my head: If it's beautiful because it's meant to be used, what does it mean when you stop using it to admire it for its beauty? If part of what makes these pots and bowls so wonderful is that they weren't made to be protected in a museum, what happens when you put them in a museum anyway?



February 6, 2010, 12:29 PM

Chris, life is complicated, and what can fit in one head may not suit another. The world this pot came from no longer exists, certainly not in my house. Vestiges of it may remain in Japan, but even there, there are pots like this in museums. I'm not saying that's a perfect solution, but perfection is pretty hard to come by generally.

The pot is beautiful because it is beautiful; the fact it was meant for use makes the beauty more tangible, accessible and palpable, more immediate or intimate, more personal--so yes, something would clearly be lost by putting it in a museum vitrine. I've read accounts of famous, revered pots in Japan displayed to a select group, and the greatest disappointment was not being able to touch and hold the object.



February 6, 2010, 12:43 PM

Another beautiful pot, a 19th century Oribe tokkuri or sake flask:

Oribe 1
Oribe 2
Oribe 3
Oribe 4
Oribe 5
Oribe 6
Oribe 7



February 6, 2010, 2:05 PM

Jack I'm sure your bowl would be happier having you admire the hell out of it than it would sitting in some museum vitrine.

Stephen, welcome and contribute anytime.



February 6, 2010, 2:12 PM

Outstanding pots, Jack.

Hi, Stephen. Nice to read your comment.



February 6, 2010, 6:35 PM

jack, i don't know your financial situation, but you should go for that bowl if it is genuine. it is great and seems reasonable if legit. you can probably cut a deal if it does not sell too.

you are better off with one outstanding and likely valuable bowl if legit, than 10 or so bowls that are very nice but will never go up in value.

that one looks exceptional and pristine for the age.

the last one i commented on as being very classy has some similar qualities.

it can be your friday or saturday night cup.

how does the open price compare to similar bowls sold at auction?



February 7, 2010, 12:51 AM

Jack, I'll second 1's advice to buy, as long as it makes sense financially. That bowl does look special. There's a feel about it that doesn't come across that often in much of the contemporary ware you've posted, as good as all of it is. That said, I could happily enjoy any of the pots you've posted. The last Oribe tokkuri is one of my favorite Oribe ware pieces you've linked to, and definitely amongst my favourites overall.



February 7, 2010, 8:39 AM

Hagi bowl: I'm having a little trouble holding these conflicting attitudes in my head: If it's beautiful because it's meant to be used, what does it mean when you stop using it to admire it for its beauty? If part of what makes these pots and bowls so wonderful is that they weren't made to be protected in a museum, what happens when you put them in a museum anyway?

The fact that it has been protected, treasured, and has survived from another world, as Jack says beautifully, shows how an object can accrue meaning over time. It carries use as a metaphor now. We know it will be shards and dust someday. We can drink from another bowl. This one has been chosen to last a little longer.



February 7, 2010, 2:01 PM

Jack, you should nab that bowl. If the Freer wants it, they should Sackler up and buy the thing themselves.


Chris Rywalt

February 7, 2010, 2:06 PM

Poetic but not ultimately convincing.



February 7, 2010, 3:01 PM

Yeah Chris, the poetry of objects thing. I'm an object guy. Objects accrue meaning. Objects are made with different meanings embedded in them. That tea bowl probably lasted 300 years because it was admired visually, not because it worked really well to drink from. A new bowl made to go right to a gallery or museum doesn't have the accrued meaning of history and antiquity, but can have other meanings. The Fiestaware my wife bought 20 years ago has some meaning for me.



February 7, 2010, 8:59 PM

Sorry I've been away, but I had computer issues, and unlike some people, I'm no computer geek.

I've forwarded the relevant information about the Hagi bowl to Brian Dursum, Director of the Lowe Museum here in Miami, who has a special interest in Oriental art. The price may be driven up by later bidders, but it could potentially be in the three figures, which is much better value for money than practically anything at even an also-ran art fair of contemporary art (of which we have many here at Basel time). The bowl, basically, is too good for me, too special.

The Oribe tokkuri is exceptionally fine but less rarefied (and also less expensive). I'm somewhat uncomfortable about owning it, but I may cave in to temptation if the price isn't driven up by other interested parties. I'm especially fond of sake bottles (that very utilitarian one I posted here with calligraphy on it is now mine, gracing my office).



February 7, 2010, 9:18 PM

This is just a little modern kogo (incense holder) with no special pretensions, but it's kind of Nolandesque, in its way:

Kogo 1
Kogo 2



February 7, 2010, 11:02 PM

Jack, I must have it. The first one. Where is the buy now link? It is even better than the one I drink my wine from. And that is saying a lot. (do you know what it means to miss New Orleans and miss it both night and day?) Go Saints!



February 8, 2010, 8:35 AM

Lucas, you're an artist, and unless you've now become at least a local Miami starlet, you can't afford such an indulgence. I expect your wife would agree with me.



February 8, 2010, 9:18 AM

You are probably right Jack. But god that is one of the most beautiful objects I've ever seen.



February 8, 2010, 10:19 AM

Courtesans on parade:

Chikanobu triptych



February 8, 2010, 10:52 AM

A figure subject by Hokusai:

Beauty with Mirror



February 8, 2010, 11:47 AM

I did a little investigating and found the auction. It is reasonable if authentic. If it is a fake it is good enough for me. 3 days left to bid. My birthday is in September if anyone is scratching their head with the question of what to get the man who has everything.



February 8, 2010, 12:54 PM

If it is a "fake," that would only apply to its age. The bowl as such is genuine enough, and more than beautiful enough.



February 8, 2010, 5:42 PM

Back to reality:

Soma 1
Soma 2
Soma 3
Soma 4



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