Saturday, July 17, 2010

Reynold's Farm
8 x 10 Oil on Linen

This is my favorite Frank Mason story. For me no one could paint atmosphere like Frank. He was the master of painting something he couldn't see with materials he didn't have. Although he was brilliant at painting atmosphere, he was not always quite so successful at explaining it to his students. One time he started a critique with a casual remark, “You need a tube of atmosphere paint,” then proceeded to rework the student's canvas showing him how to bring more light and air and space into his painting. But the lesson the student got was that he needed a tube of atmosphere paint. So after class he went downstairs to the League's store and asked for a tube of atmosphere paint. The fellow behind the counter, who had studied with Frank, asked “What class are you in?” “Frank Mason's class” he said proudly. “Oh I see” said the salesman, and then with a devilish grin added “Well, we're out of atmosphere paint. Why don't you go next door to Lee's, they might have some.” So he went to Lee's and said “I need a tube of atmosphere paint.” The salesperson seemed puzzled by this request but she checked through her list of supplies, then said “We don't carry that, why don't you try Sam Flax down on 53rd street.” So off he went to 53rd street where he was mercifully told that there was no such thing as a tube of atmosphere paint. He returned to class the next day and told us of his unsuccessful search and then added that he would never again fail to look for the atmosphere in his painting.....

1 comment:

jeff said...

The ASL store clerk sounds a lot like Jim Neighbors, I can picture him saying it and doing so with his poker face.