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Jun 5, 2008


Here is another Vermeer painting. Another women wearing that  pearl earring (see previous blog) and holding up a pearl necklace (I think - pls correct me if I'm wrong). Her eyes are turned towards the available light source and she appears absentminded.

Earlier I said (in a comment on Nanette's page) that the subject was concerned with vanity, compared to the Madonna portrait we were discussing. I have recently read that pearls were symbolicaly equated with vanity so tried to make that a fit, but I've decided that wasn't the case.

I'm sure the subject was more likely preoccupied with banal thoughts, such as, "When will Johannes finish? I have to go to the market, get the washing off the line, and answer some letters..."

I have another idea that Vermeer was obsessed with the light from that window, although it probably wasn't the same room all the time. Ok it wasn't an original idea. But I like to think of Vermeer sitting like a spider in a web, canvas, easel and paints at the ready, waiting for some poor unsuspecting female to wonder in, preferably wearing pearl earrings.

I am joking but at the same time this imagined attitude of Vermeer's strikes home. I was like that before I became too incapacitated to paint or draw anymore. I had a favourite room to paint in and a choice of two windows that shed exquisite light onto sitters and still life arrangements. The excitement, that urgent need to get what I was seeing onto paper, with inks, watercolours, crayons...  I would work feverishly and get several sketches started in one sitting.

I can't paint or draw these days, but I continue to 'see' as an artist. Something will catch my eye, and I'll analyse it, enjoy an unusual juxtaposition of colours, shapes, and so on. Most of the time this is enough to satisfy me, but there are those bleak times I yearn to have paint and drawing gear in my hands, translating whatever had stolen my attention ... but that leads nowhere good...

I can thank my Buddhist teachers for showing me the difference between wrongly perceived happiness and true happiness. Most importantly they reveal to us naive creatures that the longing for the causes of temporary or false happiness leads to the absolute opposite. Wretchedness. Bitterness. Jealousy.

Much-welcomed comment from Nanette:

StarsButterfliesGold Notes Nanette D.
Jenny, I would so love you to read that book I mentioned. "Girl With A Pearl Earing" by Tracy Chavalier. There is so much about how Vermeer worked, and about this room, and how he fixed his light, and objects on the table and around. I think you're right about his obssession with light and color. According to the book, he made his own colors to paint -- out of herbs.

Some Vermeer videos I need to watch...

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Posted: Jun 5, 2008 5:02am


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Jenny Dooley
, 3, 2 children
Eastlakes, SW, Australia
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