Saturday, September 10, 2016

LIFE WITH PICASSO: Writing Tips and Pablo's Work Ethic

While I was living in a hotel in Brooklyn over the summer I ordered Life with Picasso - three times. The book was "unaccepted" the first time. Upon the second delivery, it was placed in a mailbox that the concierge said didn't exist. I finally had it shipped to my apartment and passed to me at a cafe in Chinatown. 

Due to all of the difficulties that I had in receiving the book, I anticipated that it would have a some inspiring gems. I was correct. Here are some excerpts that (indirectly) deal with writing and some that describes Picasso's work ethic:

But I knew that an artist draws from his direct experience of life whatever quality of vision he brings to his work [...]. 

What interests me is to set up what you might call the rapports de grand écart - the most unexpected relationship possible between the things I want to speak about, because there is a certain difficulty in establishing the relationships in just that way, and in that difficulty there is an interest, and in that interest there's a certain tension and for me that tension is a lot more important than the stable equilibrium of harmony, which doesn't exist for me at all. 

"Precisely because every writer and every artist is an anti-social being. He's not that way because he wants to be; he can't be any other way."


"You're very gifted for drawing [but] I think you should keep working -hard- every day."

When Matissee, due to an operation, was bedridden for twenty-two to twenty-three hours per day "He told us that often he worked by having paper attached to the ceiling and drawing on it, as he lay in bed, with charcoal tied to the end of a bamboo stick." 

He stood before the canvas for three or four hours at a stretch. He made almost no superfluous gestures. I asked him if it didn't tire him to stand so long in one spot. He shook his head [...] After taking a seat he would[...]stay there studying the painting without speaking for as long as an hour[...]He worked like that from two in the afternoon until eleven in the evening before stopping to eat [...] 
And then, with a brief stop for dinner, nothing but painting until two in the morning. At two in the morning he was as fresh as a rose. But the next morning it would begin all over again.'

It occurred to me one day that it might be a good idea to polish the pottery with milk. Pablo dipped a rag in milk and rubbed some of his unglazed plates for hours until he finally got the effect he was after. 186

Picasso went to the Louvre approximately once per month to study Eugène Delacroix's The Women of Algiers. 

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