Thursday, July 20, 2006

This isn't about the cat

I think that personalities and personal expression are banned at my new(ish) workplace. I’ve only noticed a couple of other people with photos of loved ones or pictures up at their desk.

In any event, I decided to stuff that unwritten rule and have lobbed a few things up at my 'work' station.

To go with my deliberately provocative photo of TheLovelyWife and I in suits and ties and my figurine of comicbook guy, I have wall calendar featuring the art of Edward Hopper (not my first choice, but when one decides to buy a wall calendar in May, the choices are limited to this kind of thing or 12 months of Bichon Frise or freaking Anne Geddes - shudder).

ANYWAY, July’s picture is this somewhat pensive piece:

I’ve been staring at it for a while, and it may be a reflection of how disinterested I am in the subject matter of my work at the moment, but I’ve been trying desperately to determine whether it is morning, or evening light that is streaming in through the window. I thought I'd be all clever and use my skills of observation to work it out.

At first I thought it was morning light, but then I thought, no, the bedclothes are undisturbed. And to me, that orangey mellow light is reminiscent of about 5pm on an autumn afternoon – sort of just hanging there and making everything a little luminescent. You know, that is the best time of year for sunsets…

But then I thought that can’t be right. If it was autumn, she’d be cold just wearing that slight dress and with the window open.

And then I thought, so maybe it is morning after all. But it seemed too yellowy for the morning light, which is typically a whole lot clearer and a bit more pinky, if you know what I mean. The light in the picture lacks the specific crispness of morning light.

Unless of course the painting is of one of those some horribly skanky, humid summer mornings – you know what it’s like in February when the humidity barely subsides over night and the morning is a just a cruel hangover of the dense and oppressive evening you’ve just endured.

It was at this point that I suspected I might be thinking about it too much (and no doubt by now you think I've written about it too much, if indeed you've read this far), and I turned back to my work.

That lasted about 5 seconds before I turned back to the calendar and reconsidered the subject’s face.

It can’t be morning I thought, the subject looks as though she is wearing make-up. So maybe she’s just come in from a long day at the rat-races, slipped into something more comfortable and is taking in the cityscape whilst pondering the wastefulness of recent tax-cuts, or wondering how long before George Bush nukes Iran, or something like that.

But then, I thought that it probably isn’t make-up, that the boldness of her features is probably just a reflection of Hopper’s sometimes stark painterly technique.

And then I really thought I was thinking about it too much.

So I forgot about it for a while.

And then something happened to make it clear that I really do think about things too much. And also that I don’t pay attention to detail as much as I probably should.

I happened to look just slightly below the picture on the calendar, below the fold, and there it was, in small print:

Morning Light
Edward Hopper
1952 Oil on canvas

In this picture you might be able to see just how ridiculous it was that I missed it:

So much for those clever 'skills' of observation.

This kind of thing really gets me down.


Enny said...

Before I got the end of the post I woulda picked morning light - I didn't think about it as hard as you, but base it on the fact the light is so bright white/yellow on the wall.

Zoe said...

So how's Tobias?

JahTeh said...

Totally sucked in by this whole post.
I kept thinking what bedclothes? I can't see the window reflection. Then a look at the face and it was, 'He's left her, the creep'. It is a real think piece and if you mention Anne Geddes again, I'm never coming back.

snorky said...

where is the tobias photographic update?

seems like only yesterday that he was a little kitten

swatschy said...

what have you got against Bichon Frise?

LaLa said...

Just trawling through your archives and think this may be one of the best posts I have ever read.

Sorry to get so much enjoyment out of your misery and hope it does not dredge up bad memories!