Friday, February 28, 2014


Series of mini travel paintings
by Dorota Quiroz
 I read in "The Art of Travel" by Alain de Button an interesting statement that got me thinking about the role of art in portraying places:
“A dominant impulse on encountering beauty is to wish to hold on to it, to possess it and give it weight in one’s life. There is an urge to say, ‘I was here, I saw this and it mattered to me.” 
― Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel, p. 214
I saw so many beautiful places and photography is usually the medium that records my journeys. It's fast, convenient and easy on a go.

 Something happened to my traveling impressions in 2012.  I realized that photos were not enough… even though many of them were very artistic in composition and subject matter. It was as if beauty that was captured in the photos was not enough. I just began painting from my photographs and never really questioned the impulse and its meaning.

 I never thought about a reason behind it.

Nurnberg by Dorota Quiroz
 But why copy from photographs?
Why not paint right there on a spot?

My mini paintings are made in oil paint, my preferred medium, not very suitable for traveling, if you know what I mean… and my use of watercolors is sporadic and never in plein-air. I never have much time in each place I visit and the idea of being able to actually set up materials quickly and finish a painting or a drawing under 15 minutes is rather challenging.

Rhodes Pond by Dorota Quiroz
Alain de Botton wrote about John Ruskin, a British artist in XIX century, in one of his art essays "On possessing beauty" and his stern belief in the importance of appreciating a place by observation through drawing:
"(…) Ruskin believed, because it [drawing] could teach us to see - that is, to notice rather than merely look. In the process of re-creating with our own hands what lies before our eyes, we seem naturally to evolve from observing beauty in a loose way to possessing a deep understanding of its constituent parts and hence more secure memories of it." 
Alan de Botton "The Art of Travel" p. 215
Why not stay for a while and enjoy the view… WHAT IS THE RUSH?

When we run mad through the beautiful streets of Florence or Rome to check off all the important tourist spots, don't we miss out on the beauty of each place we run through?

Florence by Dorota Quiroz
Maybe, in order for the beauty to be imprinted on our souls, like a sun print, we must actually be there for a while to appreciate it?

When I think today about where this NEED to re-live each trip and re-experience the places I visited came from, I know it came from my soul craving missed and unpossessed beauty. My mini paintings are not impressions of place, because they were not created there, on the spot, as the Impressionist artworks were. My paintings are mere postcards of a beauty that I missed because I had no deep understanding it.

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