Driving through the most rural stretch of my trip, during that long passage where all you see is the road ahead flanked on either side by miles of trees, I was wondering about the ways one could learn to deepen perception – your awareness of living in the present instant and the desire to notice “everything.”  Henry James described the artist as “one on whom nothing is lost.”  How does one make awareness more intense?  When you are looking at the motif or at the painting’s surface itself, how does the artist ramp up the sharpness of  involvement? 

Especially as regards landscape, not only seeing just a motif in front of your eyes but responding to everything, how do you effect a complete immersion into that place – finding that aspect of it that Bonnard longed for: the peripheral vision that is circular, having no beginning or end?


5 thoughts on “A meditation on meditation

  1. aloha Aletha – yeah, i think meditation helps awareness and involvement in this moment of now.

    the moment of now being the only moment that exists. of course.

    i also think seeing/looking without words helps a lot too. words are between us and the world around us in many ways. words have their place of course and function very well for many things. identifying things in our world by labeling them helps us to move on to things we dont know or things we want to get to. that in itself allows us to pass over and skip something if we can label it (identify it) and we may even replace that actual thing with a symbol or and idealized image of the thing as a place holder. when we stop naming in our head we tend to see everything fresh and new. i like that. may be this is part of the answer to your question?

    and then again, back to meditation, as the master said: attention, attention, attention.

  2. Carpe diem, are two words that are good for me. They summarize the intensity of the moment and the joy that can be found.
    Your pastel above Aletha tells me,a car, speeding (not too much!) on a small country road, wind from the open window, a beautiful morning, the trees passing by blurred.

  3. Rick, that is exactly it — looking without words. And then, if I understand Delacroix correctly, he would have you put the words back in eventually too — or the things at least, for somethings the things drag meaning in without words as well.

  4. Ben, “carpe diem” rightly applied tell what art must do. There is life out there and you catch it. Or you at least attempt to wrestle it to the ground. (Sometimes it escapes!)

    I love that long drive — I always learn something on those trips — and especially in that long corridor of trees.

  5. aloha Aletha – ah-ha. cool. “putting the words back in”. literally that is, i like doing that. this is one of the fascinations with haiga for me. altho i do it in visual work that is not haiga as well.

    now that i think about it… i have been doing this off and on since college days. way cool. thank you.

    it’s fascinating to see how the visual aspect of – visual art – works – even in/with words.

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