I get to the Museum of Modern Art about once a year. My favorite gallery is lined with paintings by Henri Matisse. My habit is to choose just one of the paintings and really examine it. I always find Matisse amazing. A few years ago I happened to choose this painting:
I’m pretty sure that I never really paid attention to this modest subject before. But, as I looked I found something that was wonderfully surprising—Matisse painted what was seen through the vase before he painted the outline of the vase!
Well, maybe not all of it, but a significant amount.
You can see that the line of the vase edge goes over the pre-painted background and what is seen through the “water.”
How did he conceive what was seen inside the vase before painting the outline of the vase?
How did he think?