general thoughts

on light and shapes

Today’s picture on the left of this blog entry shows you a black and white picture, taken in Luarca (Luarca on wikipedia), in the evening, while drinking and snaking something high caloric after a long cycling day. Luarca is one of many, many beautiful little villages and cities at the Atlantic coast in Spain, often hidden in a bay, surrounded by steep hills.

I like this picture with the sun mirrored in the sea, the city houses almost reduced to a contour line, the horizontal and the vertical lines, and the boats that sort of point to the mirror sun. I learned that when painting an object or a scenery, one can do so by looking at patterns. Actually, one should do so. Searching for parallel lines, for patterns, for contrasts and shifts in light, for shapes. But when you try to paint something that you see, for instance a dog, you should not try to paint the dog, but you should try to paint the shapes, the contrasting light patterns, the lines. The result will be the dog, painted. If you try to paint the dog, you might end up with a wrong picture that your brain tells you: A short cut, a code for a dog. Or a flower or anything else. Our brain thinks and sees in code. And the best way to start painting , I think, is to get around the code and just focus on lines and shapes, light and later colors.

But the first thing, I think, you have to do, is see and try to find out what you actually see.

Anyhow (oups!), I am drifting a bit here. Actually, I wanted to use the picture of today, as an illustration and starting point for aldehydes. I love aldehydes. For me they are one the reasons why I love to use synthetics beyond naturals, or together with naturals. I once said, repetitively: Using synthetics (or rather: Molecules) in a mixture is like turning on the light.

Aldehydes are bright lights. My favorite aldehydes are C12 MNA (think woody, amber, waxy, metallic, bright and intense), and C10, decenal 4 trans that is very citrus, sharp, and super flashy bright.  These are very “standard” aldehydes that I use quite often in low quantities usually. There are others, like C14 (super peach) or phenylpropanal that is a green aldehyde, reminiscent of hyacinth, very sharp, silvery floral.

I use this aldehyde in Loretta, the upcoming second fragrance from the Tableau de Parfums series. I use it, not because I want a hyacinth note, but I use it to provide lift to a floral heart, to turn on the light in a fragrance heart that would be too dark and damp with the tuberose absolute, the rose absolute, and the orange blossom absolute and some woods that might render the scent a bit too dense and dark. Adding a bit of phenylpropanol lifts, brings out the flowers and adds a twist. It is like drawing a bright spot with halos.

Now, do not get me wrong: Loretta is no aldehydic fragrance, like Miriam is. There, in Miriam, aldehydes play a central part. In Loretta, they are just sparkles, in a larger picture that is a rich oriental floral.