Introduction

 

I have infinity within my reach: I see it, I feel it, I touch it, I feed on it and I know that I could never consume it.[1]

 

How can I describe my own work? The most I can hope to do is try to make my purpose explicit, explain the process of putting colour on canvas, or give some of the reasons that bring me to paint? Amongst the many writings on Art, some echo my feelings and help me understand the work artists do; yet expression in painting is sui generis. Its language is uniquely pictorial and therefore impossible to convey in words. It demands we use our feelings, undergo the visual experience that a work offers - and then refrain from speech: painting is above all silent poetry[2].

But he makes me richer who makes me see altogether differently the things I see all the time.[3] Rembrandt, Fra Angelico, Rodin, Matisse, Bonnard and, more recently, Avigdor Arikha and Philippe Lejeune have adorned the world where I live - not to mention a whole multitude of other artists. They read reality in a different key and so expand the dimensions of what is visible. It’s a question of seeing - and obeying that imperious need to fix on paper or canvas anything that yields itself to our gaze - marvelling at life’s utmost simplicity, in all its moments and all its seasons. The result is a world lent depth by aesthetic emotion.[4]


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To melt those golds, and those flower tones… requires the energy and the attention of a complete and undivided person.[5] A wordless emotion, a visual curiosity without end, and a craft that is indispensable beckon me each morning to come back to this task in which I rejoice. You mean to celebrate beauty and to bring others to share the admiration that you feel. Your work will be to show others what you have seen.[6] I am conscious of the constant difficulty of expression, of transcribing reality into what must necessarily be a reduced universe; Nature will always be greater than we can express…We have to fall back on all our strengths - in intellect, sensibility and the aesthetic sense - if we are to compose, choose, comprehend. Yet we must allow ourselves to be infiltrated by the delights of contemplation - to become airborne in forgetting all. Through what may look like a battle, a continuous effort, or a state of grace, these images will sometimes present another person with the very delight to the eye that called them into existence. Or they may invite that person to a space that offers a measure of the self that opens the spirit towards as-yet-undiscovered wealth.

So as …to transcribe but the beauty of the world and the joy of painting.[7]

 

                                                  Anna Le Moine Gray (translated by Christopher Anderson) November 2003 

 

[1] Robert Hainard   La Trace  by N.Crispini    Editions Slatkine

[2] Philippe Lejeune   Conseils à un jeune peintre   Editions de Paris

[3] Paul Valéry   Pièces sur l’Art   Gallimard

[4] Avigdor Arikha   Peinture et Regard   Hermann

[5] Vincent Van Gogh   Lettres à son Frère Théo   Grasset

[6] Philippe Lejeune   Conseils à un jeune peintre   Editions de Paris

[7] Henri Matisse   Ecrits et Propos sur l’Art   Hermann