Line and modelling do not exist.Drawing is the relationship of contrasts or, simply, the rapport of two tones, white and black.

(also: ‘there are no lines; a shape is defined only by neighbouring forms’)

Paul Cezanne ‘Conversations with Cezanne’ ed. M Doran.

Cezanne’s words are a mine of fascinating principles and paradoxes invariably wrapped in obtuse wit and further obscured by an explosive temperament….

Wonderful to read, occasionally frustrating.


Everything we look at disperses and vanishes. doesn’t it?

Nature is always the same, and yet its appearance is always changing.. .Painting must give us the flavour of nature’s eternity. Everything, you understand. So I join together nature’s straying hands.. ..From all sides, here there and everywhere, I select colours, tones and shades; I set them down, I bring them together.. ..They make lines, they become objects – rocks, trees – without my thinking about them.. ..But if there is the slightest distraction, the slightest hitch, above all if I interpret too much one day, if I’m carried away today by a theory which contradicts yesterday’s, if I think while I’m painting, if I meddle, then woosh!, everything goes to pieces.

Paul Cezanne


When I am outlining the skin of a lovely peach with soft touches of paint, or a sad old apple, I catch a glimpse in the reflections they exchange of the same mild shadow of renunciation, the same love of the sun, the same recollection of the dew.. .Why do we divide up the world? Does this reflects our egoism?.. .The prism is our first step towards God, our seven beatitudes.

Paul Cezanne  quoted by Joachim Gasquet, ‘What he told me – III. The Studio’


Moreover, I am getting rid of that devil who, as you know, used to stand behind me and forced me at will to “imitate”

Paul Cezanne. In his last letter to his son Paul.

watercolour on paper, a2, 2012

open studios is a very strange thing, i watched a young couple walking around the building but with a steady gaze into the middle distance – a little above them and a little before them – never letting their eyes focus on any work or making eye contact. with artists or each other. they looked very unhappy. and they looked like they were wrapped in psychic armour, and their visit was cultural mortification.


Roughly speaking, I think it’s accurate to say that a corporate elite of managers and owners governs the economy and the political system as well, at least in very large measure. The people, so-called, do exercise an occasional choice among those who Marx once called “the rival factions and adventurers of the ruling class.

Noam Chomsky. Talk titled “Government in the Future” at the Poetry Center of the New York YM-YWHA, February 16, 1970

from ‘les baigneurs’.

The point to be made clear is that, whatever may be our temperament, or our power in the presence of nature, we have to render what we actually see, forgetting everything that appeared before our own time. Which, I think, should enable the artist to express his personality to the full, be it large or small. Now that I am an old man, about seventy, the sensations of colour which produce light give rise to abstractions that prevent me from covering my canvas, and from trying to define the outlines of objects when their points of contact are tenuous and delicate; with the result that my image or picture is incomplete. For another thing, the planes become confused, superimposed; hence Neo-Impressionism, where everything is outlined in black, an error which must be uncompromisingly rejected. And nature, if consulted, shows us how to achieve this aim.

Paul Cezanne. A letter to Émile Bernhard, 23 October 1905, as quoted in “Letters of the great artists – from Blake to Pollock”, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson, London, 1963, p. 180




pencil in sketchbook, a5, 2012


after bacon.


pencil on paper,420 x 297 mm, 2012


performance of day to day life.

‘all the world’s a stage’

a painter is in the landscape & as cezanne saw it; cannot be an observer. [he paints his sensations?]

as i was drawing in the national gallery, stood in front of a velásquez, a couple were muttering behind me. i heard them mention ‘voyeurism’. and they were pleased with themselves, excited by it


Thus it is true both that the life of an author can teach us nothing and that—if we know how to interpret it—we
can find everything in it, since it opens onto his work. Just as we may observe the movements of an unknown animal
without understanding the law that inhabits and controls them, so Cezanne’s observers did not divine the transmutations he
imposed on events and experiences; they were blind to his significance, to that glow from out of nowhere which surrounded
him from time to time. But he himself was never at the center of himself: nine days out of ten all he saw around him was
the wretchedness of his empirical life and of his unsuccessful attempts, the debris of an unknown celebrations Yet it was in
the world that he had to realize his freedom, with colors upon a canvas. It was from the approval of others that he had to
await the proof of his worth. That is why he questioned the picture emerging beneath his hand, why he hung on the glances
other people directed toward his canvas. That is why he never finished working. We never get away from our life. We never
see ideas or freedom face to face.

Merleau-Ponty on Cezanne; ‘Cezannes Doubt’


a rationalist perspective on cezanne. full of veneration and some very acute critique.

but again the the painter as an observer – totally divorced from their environment.

the warping of sight by movement is not an illusion it is an aspect of how we understand the world, how we experience the world is how we experience the world. placing the human figure in landscape was his highest aspiration.

we never get away from our life.