Taking an ant walk with your eyes along the porous surface of the veil of light that hangs perpetually before your eyes. That’s my idea about what realism is. I speak of that veil of light that coalesces to form the image of things inside the mind. Wake up, open the eyes, and there’s the world, waiting.
A meticulous realism can be many things. For some it’s a virtuoso performance of throwing down lines one at a time . They assemble like a magic act to make recognizable objects, captured in what we count as amazing detail, while the audience responds with gasps and childlike clapping. But realism can also be the felt-out path, as much the muddle of true reality as the persuasive life-like picture. True reality comes with contradictions and stereo vision and some assembly is required. In reality, any line is both here and here, depending upon which eye you consult, left or right. True reality is also your unfolding attention, the fact that you notice one thing before another. A true picture of one’s perceptions includes all the lies as well as the truths that God knows. True reality is as much what I think as what’s actually present, for who is to referee? In truth we cannot quite make out sometimes what reality is when perception is so elusive and experience so unfinished. Time rolls along continuously bringing more and more reality to bear upon us.
So I take my ant walk with a pencil. The ant walk describes with line the path an imaginary ant travels chaotically across the surfaces the artist draws. If my watching follows the footfalls of those most delicate and quiet padded feet, what will I discover? The drawing is a log of a journey in intimacy, and the world is my apple. That ant of imagination chooses the path by desires too arcane for comprehension. I choose only to watch and record, being the amanuensis of a mystery. A docile pencil, a companionable creature of imagination.
Today’s “ant” walked to the frog pond, drawing the contours of this odd tea pot. I like to get into the small aspects of the object where planes turn on a tiny pivot, where a line bends, where many shades of light and dark converge.