Frances to a wonderful exhibition of the work of Pierre Bonnard which has had a big effect on the way I look at painting in so many ways. His composition, colour and use of light is masterful but it is the overall way of looking that strikes me deep down. On the wall were some of his words:
"I'm trying to do what I have never done, give the impression one has on entering a room: one sees everything and nothing at the same time."
In contrast, the finely detailed work of the pre-Raphaelites looks at the world in a very different way to the impressionist work of Bonnard. Every inch of the canvas is painted with close attention to detail and in his review for the Telegraph in October 2008, Richard Dorment writes:
"...the eye tires of looking because Hunt didn't know (or didn't care) that in real life when we focus on an object in the foreground, the background and peripheral areas of the scene are blurred - and vice versa."
What interests me in my own drawing and painting is to be able to distil a scene to its essence, to remove everything that isn't relevant whilst layering on an even greater depth of interest and meaning. I want to produce work which will offer a sudden, intense view of a moment. To achieve what is in some ways the opposite of what Holman Hunt was doing but in other ways is a kind of nightmarish version: a sort of fever-induced close-up of Bonnard's first impressions.
I'm still miles away from all this of course.