Saturday, July 28

It seems to me that almost every artist finds some subdivision of nature or experience more congenial to his temperament than any other. To me it has been the sea―or rather those regions adjacent to the sea―beaches, dunes, swampy coasts . . .

There is another aspect of an artist's choice of his subject matter which I think could be profitably explored. It is that I believe he is affectively related to certain forms and designs. I believe his choice is channeled by the compulsion to find an objective vehicle for inward plastic images. I certainly do not know why, but I am stirred by certain geometrical relationships, certain rectangular forms and arabesques out of which grow particular harmonies and rhythms. In deciding what subject I shall paint I am irresistibly drawn to objects which contain the skeleton of this type of plastic structure. Whether I am spending the summer on Barnegat Bay or on Cape Cod or merely sketching along the Harlem River, I somehow contrive to find the exact set of lines and contours which this inner appetite demands.

-- Julian Levi, from "Before Paris and After" in Magazine of Art December 1940