distraction

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I have a list of things to work on and I was supposed to be working my list.  But then I got an idea about this motif, and it seemed like something that I should do instead.

Sometimes I seem to be dreaming while awake.

This is a beginning of something or other.  Not sure where it’s going — only that it’s light.

morning thoughts

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The difficulty one encounters in trying to paint dreams is that often you cannot remember them.  Dream memory is exceptionally fugitive. That feature of itself draws in a certain scientific interest (for those who study dreams) because it’s so startlingly different from ordinary perception.  While you will most probably forget what you did this morning over the course of a few days, you are most unlikely to forget it seconds after it happens. But how often has one awakened from a dream only to see it seem to disintegrate even as one watches?

Some dreams last in memory and others don’t.  Even what distinguishes the one sort of dream from the other is unknown.  But while dreams cannot be counted on to furnish stable material for art, the process that one’s mind uses to dream is most probably accessible — to some extent — in a waking state.

I’m searching for some random things to include in certain pictures that are in the works. I say the things are random, but I only mean that they’re random in the way that dream elements often seem to come in bizarre forms.  And one thing clearly connects to another as though by some great law of causality.  But when you tell the dream to someone, it seems to make no sense at all. I am putting things into pictures just because, and wondering afterwards if the stream of consciousness leads somewhere.

Your dreams, O years, how they penetrate through me! (I know not whether I sleep or wake.)  — Walt Whitman, Years of the Modern

strange correspondences

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When photographs of pictures happen by chance to appear side by side, sometimes you discover relationships between images that you didn’t know were there.  And so it seems that the Little Collage has some sort of parallel relationship to the Lattice painting that I made many years ago.

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Maybe I’m crazy.  But I feel as though they share some inner logic, as though they are versions of the same thing.

The garden considered

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It’s the view from the dream, when the colors grey into coming night and that river in the distance is the path your thoughts will take, meandering, carrying you around the bend unto a place no one can find on any map.  You don’t know where the dreams come from.  They come to you with such intensity, press their meanings firmly.  The emotion’s current is strong, and yet I cannot remember any of it once morning comes.  Do I know these places?  How are these my thoughts when they come to me so strangely?

Out into the World

You have to go out into the world someday, but for now you are our child.  You play and never venture too much beyond this paved walk and these brick walls and all the dreams that you dreamed inside their realm of spacious and fanciful places, a vaster world, I think, that what even the real one holds – so big has been your imagination.

And those parallel lines of sight just tell you how connected you are to all this, to your past, to a childhood of wonder, and all that roots anyone to their here and now.  Like life lines thought anchors you to a safe harbor in the past and when you go forth doesn’t it help you hold course?  And won’t you be stronger, my child, for having once wondered and dreamed in the safety of this home?

Dark Trees Dreamings

Arching branches and dark shadows on the ground and in the air, veiled skeins of amorphous shade.  The geometry of the topography of trees mapped out in sentinel positions, each one staking a meaning.  So many meanings planted, growing in a mind’s forest around which a wanderer in wakeful dreaming pleasantness muses upon so admirable a stand of trees significant, though of what am not quite sure.

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In full air, in broad daylight, in airy spaces, in the intervals between diaphanous shadows, I was wandering through pebble beds planted with sentinel cedars and well-trained Japanese conifers and branching-low horizontal blue-grey shrubs rimmed by round leafy yellow somethings.  Better, more clear to know their names, but I only know the shapes and colors.  I wanted a theatre that I could fasten into a picture.

Mine has not been an innocent eye.  I have an agenda.  I’m looking for something.  I have the template inside my head and would squeeze my landscape into it were it at all possible.  It’s out there somewhere.  I’m stalking it.

I need longer days.  In the past I found time stretched out broadly, elastic mornings that floated with airy sounds, blended into afternoons spun out, suspended along bands of clear light like threads of a spider’s web.

There’s a patient, waiting creature for you, the spider whose day is an eternity of resolute ambition poised.

There’s more time inside the minutes than I’ve been perceiving of late.  My sense of time has weakened perhaps.  Get glasses for the eyes, listen more intently for sounds to articulate, but of time’s discernment I’ve lost the requisite careless, idle manner that sees it most minutely.  Time has overflowed the banks, and I try to wade back to quiet pools of it, shielded narrows, stilling eddies flattening and reflective, silkening out like a mirror clock into whose depths finally one peers and sees rich darks and the lingering thought.  I want time that advances in predictable, rational concentric arcs.

I wanted to empty myself of cares, become literally care-less.  An experiment for daylight.

As for my drawing, I thought I might choose the easiest subject.  Is that fair?  That’s not “cheating,” is it?  Is this a test?  But what motif would that be, the easy one?  This is not an easy test to cheat.

I tell anyone who will listen (that would usually be a smallish group indeed) that fatigue is a good teacher.  Learn to play when you are tired, even sometimes when you’re completely beat, for in the times of exhaustion many new possibilities open to which ordinarily we are stiff to refuse.  But when sufficiently tired, one is unable to resist.  Sometimes one makes noble progress by the virtue of a heavy weariness.  As the time ripples out and stills and the glance is available a steady, lasting lingering second.

First Lines

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The first lines of my canvas look somewhat like these dream scattered lines of my notebook.  In the morning over tea I drew my still life from memory.   Now at the end of the first day, I realize that the first lines I drew with paint were rather like these precursors. 

First lines are the gathered essential thoughts, the first impressions, the longed for idea bundled up like flowers.  In their still vague dress of make-believe they merely point towards hopes and longing.  I will love this painting once it’s underway.  I am already enjoying work.  Looking into the depths among my objects I find the hints of so many possibilities.  One small corner of a room can contain radical amounts of color and tone, shape and meandering line, hidden questions and enigmas to satisfy the needs of a hundred painted pictures.  Yet soon after I had finished assembling my still life I found that one core set of forms had drawn my heart into this idea, so I’m inching along, laying down lines, trying to gain enough ground to see the first reward.

Perhaps hiking a mountain is like this?  There’s a lot of work with your head down before you get to enjoy the view.

My first fumbling sketches are a crude map toward my destination.