The largest room…

is “room for improvement…..”

While I painted outside on the city public art project, I often listened to the New Yorker fiction podcast.  Highly recommend it!   For some reason, I have always enjoyed painting to spoken word, particularly fiction- more than music- perhaps two different parts of my brain are activated- any neurologists out there could enlighten me on this. The New Yorker fiction editor has authors pick a short story from the fiction archives and they discuss it a bit and then the author reads it.

David Means was recently reading a Raymond Carver short story- “Chef’s House.”

I’ve always enjoyed what Means called Carver’s  “clear, accessible style”, comparing the intimacy and quiet loneliness of it to an Edward Hopper painting.

Raymond Carver was highly edited by a former fiction editor at the New Yorker…. sometimes to an extreme in some people’s minds.  But at a certain point, he broke free (and had absorbed enough through seeing how to improve his own work?)  to say “this enters the world as I wrote it.”

Can something we make, or do or paint always be better in some way?

Perhaps.  Usually.

That’s what drives us in part.

Raymond Carver certainly had a a voice, but his work was so pared down that you had no choice but to move right into the narrative.  Too often, there is a slick veneer, a style that attracts one to something.  I think this exists in painting….. hence knock-offs of certain styles- otherwise, it would be a huge coincidence that hundreds of painters arrive at the work they do, which just happens to be a poor approximation of someone else’s original thinking /voice / hard-won conclusions.

I wonder if a certain attainment of “style” often covers up lack of skill…… a need to go no further.

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