Tuesday, April 12

standing back

Nailed side by side on to the wall were several unstretched canvases on all of which, to my astonishment, [Pierre] Bonnard was working at the same time. Once he had collected a touch of laque de garance, or cadmium yellow, with his nervous, deft fingers, he would then examine each canvas to find the one and only place to put it. In this way, he could nourish several canvases at once until they all came to life. Economy of gesture? The procedure might have seemed a rational one had his 'palette' not obliged him to make a tiresome trip back and forth for each colour -- for the paints were laid out far behind him on a low table. However, he had obviously set this onerous task for himself deliberately. By moving away from the canvases after each stroke, he was better able to judge the effect he was obtaining and to seize the colour relationships, as well as to keep an eye out for any empty spaces.

-- Brassaï The Artists of my Life
Translated by Richard Miller