February 8, 2011
Gustave Doré's "Forest at Twilight"
This is a photograph I took of a large painting from the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh that I thought about for years. When I first saw it in 1996, for some reason I thought it was awful--I think the thick, crusty paint turned me off and I couldn't get past it. Over the years I had seen it a few more times and each time I saw it I liked it more and more. When I recently visited the museum this January, I made a point to go see it and I couldn't believe that I ever disliked such an amazing and wonderful painting. Also, it was the first time that I noticed it was painted by Doré, one of my favorite printmakers.
When I think about the painting that I thought it was, I don't know where I got the idea. I always remembered it to be far more simple, less naturalistic and more crusty than it actually is in reality.
Last year, my wife and I visited the island of Arran off the Western coast of Scotland, and although I didn't see any deer in the woods, the trees looked just like this.