We need boundaries, and we need to defy rules also. No edges, no defiance. Yet one wants to be more than just defiant. One wants to create, and creation is sometimes all cooperation. Sometimes creating “goes with the flow” and resists nothing. It’s all very complicated.

Nous avons besoin de frontières et nous devons aussi defier les règles. Pas de limites, pas de défis. Et en même temps on veut être plus que simplement rebelle. On veut créer et quelquefois, créer c’est coopérer. Quelquefois créer c’est aller dans le sens du courant, se laisser aller sans résister. Tout ça, c’est très compliqué.   [translated by Bénédicte of Carnet de Dessins]

The image above comprises three paintings, as they would appear stacked one above the other.  Each canvas is 40 x 60 inches, so the overall dimensions would be 120 by 60 inches if they were displayed this way.  Alas, they never have been so far, but the fish and I are both hopeful.  These are the first koi I painted.  They have lots of friends now.  My studio looks like a fish tank.

The comment and its translation originally appeared at the end of a different post.  I made the comment, and Bénédicte was kind and adventurous enough to translate it.  Uttered in French my observations sound ever so wise!  Then it dawns on me (later) that the koi express this idea about boundaries.  The fish live in water and never leave it.  They can’t exist outside it (not for very long).  And so they are very bound, and yet within the confines of their pond they do amazing things.  They swim with the utmost freedom and beauty.

8 thoughts on “Swimming up through the bounds

  1. I didn’t realise the quote was you. It is so wise and beautifully stated I thought it must have been one of the great masters of the past, which just goes to show somethingorother. Perhaps that you are brilliant. As are your paintings, being in your studio must be like being in the pond with the fishyfish, maybe like being a fish in the pond?

  2. Ditto what Paul says (even though I just read the comment the other day). It is a superb quotable comment – you might have to become a writer (or maybe you are one already). It would be lovely to see your beautiful paintings (on top of each other) and in real life – sigh!

  3. Je viens d’essayer d’écrire, dans mon dernier post, ou au moins de décrire ce que je pense mais tout juste une petite phrase télégraphique…
    Aletha, tu écris aussi bien que tu dessines,
    ces poissons sont magnifiques et de les voir en séquence c’est comme un film, ça bouge dans le cadre comme les idées dans la tête.

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