Saturday, October 6, 2007

No Hurt Feelings.

This Blog was created to discuss Ideas. An idea about color should rest on its own merit and be provable. We should maintain the highest standards of critical thinking, since, after all, we want to learn and improve. Argumentation, the discourse to achieve this goal, is not about posturing or name calling, but about reasoning.


marvelousmarvin said...

Graydon you are a real piece of work. On one hand you take the time to compose a thoughtful explanation of your methodology for me and then one post away, you ridicule this "random" quote.

Obviously, the author of the statement was me, Marvin Mattelson. I find the first part of my statement to be quite logical. It states in so many words that I'm just trying to get under the hood of an artist I consider to be quite masterful.

Using Paxton's palette has allowed me great insight into his mindset. Since you agree that it is indeed logical why post my statement?

Regarding your singling out of Paxton's statement, Paxton was known for his subtle sense of humor. I think his statement relating the dust in his flesh palette to the dust of the earth a wonderful example of his wit. It's funny!

Since you seem to fancy yourself a scientist among artists I think you need to do a little more research when attempting to make a salient point here. I don't think your use of a lighthearted quip cuts the mustard, especially in lieu of all the truly lame and ridiculous statements made by numerous loosey goosey clueless artists and/or their biographers today and throughout history.

Bad science.

On one hand you go to great lengths to praise and assuage me and then you pull this out of your hat. If you want me to take you seriously and have respect for you, you are sure doing a great job of undermining your efforts.

Scott said...


You probably haven't met Marvin, but, he has the greatest humor. This was not only that, but, what led me to think that cadmiums could be dismissed. After all, aren't the earth pigments closer to us than cads? Hum...maybe what Marvin posted bore consideration, I thought. And, I think that you yourself ask us to always start out selecting pigments that are closer to our target mix.

Admire you both. Hope to see you both post on this forum.

graydon said...

Since of humor or not, this is exactly what a beginner art student will take to the easel, and then quote you. I have heard quips about drawing that are just silly in art school. One is about glazing with "pure" color. Hensche did a lot to undermine painting with irrational parlor talk. And I have heard more than once, as a justification for ignorance, that Ingres didn't like anatomy. (or the Greeks for that matter) Yet any look at his studies for Saint Symphorien in the Fogg shows his great command of the body. The American Artist workshop magazine is just full of more such inaccuracies. Read the last article on Mr. Zhou.

The same goes with the silliness around not using black or painting without media. Such ideas masquerades for truth. These things sound good to many artists and, what appears rational at first, really isn't.

Your opinions about Paxton and his flesh are absolutely fine. I like Paxton a lot, and he most certainly painted flesh well. He was a master. Now, okay, I understand it is supposed to be funny. However, I could likewise make the absurd statement that one should use cadmiums because the human spirit glows and only by using the most brilliant palette can this efflorescence be realized. Or that cadmiums speak to the human soul with their inward light, etc. But this wouldn't help a student paint flesh. Nor does the statement, just paint what you see. All are, instead, rather mystical.

Marvin, again you are getting too defensive. This is just about ideas and clarifying the muddleheadedness of the art world. Realists are not free from it, nor were nineteenth century artists. In fact, it was later school impressionists that invented some of the dogma we have today. Robert Henri and William Merit Chase come to mind.

Instead, you might say that I am a bad historian since I didn't know that Paxton had such a sense of humor. This isn't bad science.

Nor does removing cadmiums from ones palette constitute good science entirely. I removed them because earth colors are cheaper and easier to mix than the high chroma cadmiums. Earth colors are also permanent. However, with the Munsell guide, I can easily set up a palette that is indistinguishable from yours with the use of cadmiums or the modern organics. Yes, I would have to use certain iron oxide paints in the mix for the lower values, but in the higher ones, Cadmiums could be there without any deleterious effects, if they were adjusted properly. In the hands of students---well, if they were using Munsell notations to establish their range of chromas, they wouldn't have made mud. (mud, after all, has its own HVC notation)

What I want to do here is to eschew as much dogma in art as possible, to purge inaccuracies and ideologies from art education.

As for taking me are getting pretty close to a personal attack. I also would remove the sarcastic language. I am not attacking you, but I am debating you; and in this case, I am using Paxton's quote to shed light on the way artists speak, in hyperbole, often, which makes for interesting reads but does little to educate. In fact, I would hope you would respect me more for trying to clarify art education.

I have a great sense of humor where its appropriate. But at this blog, I insist that all try to stick to the point and work hard to think about what we are writing. There are many places that humor in art is appreciated, like Chelsea, Moma, the ICA in Boston and Mass Moca. In these places, I have never laughed so hard.

Scott said...


Thank you for posting your response. I understand you now. Thanks so much for taking the time, and you didn't have to, and adding these thoughts.

marvelousmarvin said...


Can you for a moment understand that when you single out something I said as an example of illogical thinking, especially when it followed statements by you such as saying I don't understand color theory, it could easily be construed by me as a personal attack as opposed to a debate?

I thnk the examples you posted here make your point in a much more logical way.

As for the humor, one of my biggest gripes with the way people teach painting is that their cut and dry approach seems to me to suck out the joy and excitement and makes things very uptight. Painting is not like being at a funeral, it's a wonderful enlivening experience and shoud be fun.

Of course there is frustration and struggle but to be dead serious all the time, in my opinion, makes for an uptight atmosphere where flow can't happen.

One student in a workshop gave me a quote, "Say it once and I'll surely forget it, say it funny and I'll remember it forever." It's esasy to laugh at assholes but much more constructive to laugh at ourselves. I use humor to keep the spirit up, so if you want me to continue here the humor stays. I'm not kidding!

graydon said...

Humor is a hard thing to communicate on the internet. Just add a : ) and I will take it as such.

marvelousmarvin said...

:) :) :) :) :) :)!

Scott said...

I love you guys! You are both so kewl!!! Thanks so much for both of your mean lots to us here. We all are so excited about learning from you both!

BTW, Marvin...I love the socks!!!
:) :) :) :)!

ewschott said...

Gawd, I hate the way things are mis-construed on the Internet, I was actually afraid to read this great exchange.

Geeze, if you don't understand me just ask! Marvin can a test to my great communication skills... :)