A Passion for Detail by Charlotte Moss

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elizabeth-floyd-blog-bountiful-observations-image
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Last week as I was recovering from a bad cold, I read the book A Passion for Detail by the talented interior designer, Charlotte Moss. This book is outside the usual topics I pick up when I need some comfort reading (just like comfort food, I also rely on comfort reading to feel better :)), and it turned out to be just what I needed to get inspired for the coming week.

This book was a wonderful joy visually, but also in that it opened my eyes to understand more of why I am an artist and why I love creating still-life paintings.

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Charlotte Moss believes that our lives are expressed in the little details.

The pocket handkerchief, the colored paperclip, and the silver compact – all are telling gestures that proclaim who we are… you look at these details and a world unfolds…

This is how I feel when I paint a still-life painting, as if the details of the objects unfold, sharing with me the spirit and enthusasim of life.

With each new painting I get to focus on the nuances and the combination of details and textures that bring these objects to life. With paint I am expressing the intangible feelings that are aroused in me when objects are grouped, trying to evoke a sense of mood, and creating an atmosphere of calm and beauty to mentally wonder into.

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My favorite chapter of the book is Undecorating: the Attention to Detail.

Objects give a house character. We accumulate things over time. We cherish them and display them prominently. They are assimilated into our daily routine. A paperweight. A brass change box. A bud vase.

This process, which some call decoration, is really what I call “living.” It is a progression, not a single event.

Forget the rules, arouse the senses, is the primary thrust of advice in this chapter, and in thinking about how engaging the senses makes for a more appealing and inviting home, I realize this also applies to creating art.

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{click on image to enlarge}

The pieces that heighten my experience of life are always the ones that make a lasting impression. Still-lifes by Chardin do this for me, in that they celebrate the beauty found in the simple objects of life and this really resonates with me.

{Basket of Peaches, with Walnuts, Knife and Glass of Wine by Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin}

So going forward, I will try to think about how I can arouse the senses in my work. How to make a painting visually exciting while also stimulating the senses of touch, smell, and sound. Also thinking about what will evoke memories and sensations?

My hope is that if I think about this while painting, these ideas will be conveyed...

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I was introduced to Charlotte Moss by the amazing ladies that host the “Skirted Round Table” podcasts, Megan Arquette of Beach Bungalow 8, Linda Merrill of ::Surroundings::, and Joni Webb of Cote De Texas, who have interviewed her twice. Here is the first interview, and here is the second interview. And I owe them a world of thanks for their interviews and broadening my world.

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elizabeth-floyd-blog-bountiful-observations-image

Images are photos of her book, A Passion for Detail, click on them to enlarge them and see the details in each vignette.