Seinfeld and Thomson

I over-heard Pat say that comedian Jerry Seinfeld was coming to perform a show in Toronto.   She said that what she loved about Seinfeld was the way he could take something totally ordinary and mundane -- the minor details of everyday life --  and make it all so noteworthy , and yes, very very funny.

I have been working my way through Terry Eagleton's classic volume "Literary Theory: An Introduction".  Tough sledding -- but already I know this is a book I have to take slowly, and thoughtfully consider the ideas he presents.  Already -- in the first chapter, under the heading "What is Literature" he put this out there:

“ (Literature) was language ‘made strange’; and because of this estrangement, the everyday world was also suddenly made unfamiliar. In the routines of everyday speech, our perceptions of and responses to reality become stale, blunted ... Literature, by forcing us into a dramatic awareness of language, refreshes these habitual responses and renders objects more ‘perceptible’. By having to grapple with language in a more strenuous, self-conscious way than usual, the world which that language contains is vividly renewed.”
Tom Thomson,    Path Behind Mowat Lodge, 1917         Art Gallery of Ontario

Tom Thomson,  Path Behind Mowat Lodge, 1917       Art Gallery of Ontario


And that got me thinking about painting.  And Tom Thomson.

In the late winter of 1917, Daphne Crombie was a guest at the Mowat Lodge on Canoe Lake, Algonquin Park.  Thomson had also recently arrived at Mowat and was waiting at the lodge for the ice to go out. He had begun his project to paint a new plein air 8 x 10 each and every day to chronicle the arrival of Spring in the Park.  Daphne liked to chat with Thomson and was very interested in his work.  The story goes that one day she asked him "Tom, why are your shadows so blue?' And he said, 'Look, tomorrow morning you go out at about eleven'. When I came back a little later, it was quite a difference in the shade of shadows. And I told him that, and he said, 'I told 'ya.'

How many art instruction books out there .. every single one (?) ... direct the painter to open their eyes and see, truly see, what lies before them.  The ordinary, the mundane, the everyday. Paint THAT and make it new again.