They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. Well, it seems that this is the case for Cotton Factory tenant Diana Gordon and her current passion project that she calls, Cezanne et Moi”. “The best way for one artist to get to know another artist’s work, is to copy it!”, exclaims Diana. The project consists of Diana recreating Paul Cezanne’s masterpieces by referencing his finished and unfinished paintings to understand his process.
“You get inside the head of another artist doing this type of work”, says Diana. Indeed, the goal of this project is to learn to paint the way Cezanne paints, however, the process is much more involved and evokes a sort of romance in this learning experience. Diana goes on to explain: “I can imagine Cezanne in the south of France, with the different light and the different shapes of pears […] I begin to see colour, lights versus darks, shape in a different way”.
Inherently, the process forces different paint patterns upon her. She describes, “sometimes I would just re-create brushstroke after brushstroke, not knowing exactly why. Then I would stand back and suddenly see the curve of a jug, or how the bright Provencial light fell on a ripe red pear or on a white tablecloth or how he used blue to indicate space. Many illuminating moments arise while recreating Cezanne’s work. I don’t notice it in the beginning process of it, but when I stand back, I say to myself, “Now I understand!”.
In addition to learning Cezanne’s artistry for her own pleasure, Dianna intends to do an illustrative talk among her fellow docents at the Art Gallery of Hamilton to share what she has learned in recreating Cezanne’s work. “Maybe they can use some of this experience in their art exhibit tours for the upcoming AGH show”, Diana states. “Only a few of the docents are artists and they have told me they would like to learn more about the process of painting.
This project may be one of the highest forms of flattery to Cezanne’s work. Indeed, Cezanne’s compositions and unique brushworks were considered a breakthrough in modern art and although this is recreational work for Dianna, we believe that her project is revolutionary, too.