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.