I keep journals, all shapes and sizes, from the years since my husband and I met. One journal, devoted to one of our summer trips to France, has several drawings by our children, mostly sketched in as we were waiting for dinner. Here is one sketch by our (then) very-young daughter where she has written all the essential ingredients for a good restaurant visit [glace meaning ice cream, by the way]:
But it is an interesting idea, this one that art may not be so universal. I am finding that I don't want to agree. I want to believe that, like dance, visual art makes its impact without the use of language, so that nothing gets lost in translation. But then, perhaps, Kimmelman's point might explain at least some people's experience -- like ours -- that the wealth of experiences that we store up as inhabitants of one country leave us rather unprepared to (truly, without ambiguity or second-guessing) take on those of a new place. Gertrude Stein managed it; she always said that everyone has two countries, the one they come from and the one where they belong. America is my country, she said, but Paris is my hometown. Perhaps, when we only come halfway to that feeling, it isn't enough.
So, artistically, then, given the idea of the (preferable? more flexible?) blank slate: I am working now on a 24" square painting that has undergone two or three major changes already; I finally gave up on the original ideas and painted white over the whole. Now it is sanded down and waiting for the next re-vision:
But I can't resist one more blue... Picasso's and Motherwell's apparent favorite blue, from the famous cigarette package, that I found on a street-corner: