I’d missed a sitting because I had a nasty cough. I realised I wouldn’t be able to sit still while coughed, and I didn’t want to spread my germs to Peter.
By this sitting I was really aware how much I had been aware all week of missing out on it. I realised what people are talking about when they speak about the benefit they feel from meditation. I missed having had a compulsory hour to sit still and not think too much, you can’t let your mind wander, you have to remain focussed on not moving your head around too much. Once this portrait is finished I might take up meditation instead.
Peter had been reading and thinking about Resemblance and Representation. He sometimes seems to worry that I will be offended or disappointed that the portrait isn’t an exact copy of my face. He explained how he was trying to ‘represent’ me, rather than create a ‘resemblance’ of me. He has spoken before of enjoying the psychology involved in portraiture, that talking and getting to know each other is a vital component of the painting process. Afterwards he sent over some extracts from Aesthetics & Painting by Jason Gaiger:
“Nelson Goodman states, the most deeply held conviction is that we know what a picture represents because it resembles the subject. Goya’s painting represents the Duke of Wellington, but the duke does not represent the painting. Moreover, although nothing resembles the Duke so much as the Duke, the duke does not represent himself. There are many things that resemble each other without being a representation of the other. An identical twin resembles but does not represent his brother…
Goodman borrows the term denotation from the philosophy of language, where it is used to describe the relation that holds between a word, such as a name or a predicate, and the object or property that it stands for….Goodman denies that resemblance is sufficient to secure reference.
Rosalind Krauss – the impulse toward structural linguistics….is not the drive …. For unpacking a style or a painting, for decoding it, so to speak, it is instead motivated by a wider consideration about the nature of representation. That wider consideration is one of total resistance to a realist or reflectionist view of art, namely, the idea that the painting….is a reflection of the reality around it, that reality enters the work of art with the directness of the image striking the mirror.”
Kahnweiler- Braque and Picasso’s dealer stated - a woman in a painting is not a woman; she is a group of signs I read as ‘woman’.