Photo Shuffle-When I Paint My Masterpiece


I pressed ‘Play’ on my Ipod and this is what I heard…”When I Paint My Masterpiece” By The Band.

Today’s shuffle choice may have been the easiest one to pair with one of my photographs. Not because I consider this photo to be anything resembling a ‘masterpiece’ by any means. But after taking the photo several years ago while on vacation in Cape Cod, I realized it had an odd and unintentional similarity in some ways to something I do consider to be a masterpiece-Andrew Wyeth’s painting Christina’s World. You can view the painting here. Wyeth painted it in 1948 in Maine and it was exhibited for a short time  before being purchased by the Museum Of Modern Art in New York. The painting is immediately striking to the eye. Big swaths of greenish-brown grass in a treeless landscape and the figure of the inspiration for the painting, Christina Olson lying  on the ground stricken with polio. It says so much but shows so little in the stark landscape.

Volumes of books and blogs have been written about the lyrics of Bob Dylan. Though some day I may do one of my longer pieces about one of his songs, this Photo Shuffle series is meant to go easy on the analysis. Suffice it to say there is a lot going on in the song lyrically and though most Dylan fans would not proclaim it to be his masterpiece as a song, it has always intrigued me. It is interesting to note that The Band recorded this song even before Dylan did, and their breezy, accordion and mandolin driven take and those raspy Levon Helm vocals is thought of more highly of than Dylan’s own version by most. The one thing the song does for me when I hear it is makes me revisit in my mind the trips I have taken to art museums since I was in my teens. Early on I did not know what made a work of art a masterpiece but as I continued to explore I began to realize why certain works were more regarded than others. Personal preferences still mean a lot when it comes to art and music, but sometimes you really have to recognize why paintings like Wyeth’s really stand out over other works.

In terms of my own photography, I may never truly be satisfied enough to proclaim my ‘masterpiece.’ I tend to be my own harshest critic and find minor flaws with almost every photo I take. But it doesn’t keep me from continuing to try every time I press click! What is your own definition of masterpiece? What are your favorites?

When I Paint My Masterpiece-Written By Bob Dylan

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All Photographs By Robert P. Doyle

*Photo Shuffle is a new, very short slice of my regular blogs based on setting my Ipod on shuffle and matching up one of my photographs to whatever comes up.



28 thoughts on “Photo Shuffle-When I Paint My Masterpiece

  1. I totally see the similarity between your photo (which is great, by the way) and Wyeth’s painting. I think it’s so cool that you can do that with your photography–link your pictures with great works of art throughout history.

    Also, I think your comment about personal preference and the recognition of masterpieces is interesting. That’s something I think if periodically because I really do think so much of what makes art great is what each individual takes from it, and yet there is some art that has greater quality than others. But who decides that? How do we judge that quality?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the compliment Liza. I wouldn’t say I was able to link my photos with other artists is something I typically do, but I did not have to step back too far on this one to see the similarity.

      Your comment on personal preference is very true. It is really down to the individual, be it a painting, a book, or a song. So many times others proclaim something to be great and I may think, Really? Other times I may find something great and everyone else might say Really? In terms of how we judge that greater quality art I think historical perspective helps. When technique, style and content are different than anyone else, and we feel connected or engaged to the painting, I think that helps. At the heart of it though, just like the ‘What Is Art’ question, we may never be able to truly define the why.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I honestly don’t know how that happened! Maybe it was a subconscious recognition of that scene but really I think it was an accident. I tend to look for shots without a lot of distractions (power lines, cars,etc) so I think that was the primary reason. Cape Cod is one of my absolute favorite places! This was taken in Wellfleet. Thanks for the comment Tasha!


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