May 17, 2009

Reflections: Journey of the Mind in Space (or the artists quantum quandary...where to paint that first rock?.....)

A creative and spiritual friend, remarked in response to seeing the top sketch in the previous post below that it reminded her of a Japanese zen garden. She explained..."look at the structure and colors from the Japanese garden in Portland and look at your top sketch. They speak the same language. The garden - it's just amazing and one of the most tranquil places to be in the city.

I'll forever be grateful for that comment.

Her words resonated deeply and clearly expressed a connection between studio efforts to explore the application of various mediums into
expressive visual form and an intuitive pre-verbal "story" behind it. Associations rippled and memories fired illuminating and connecting paths I'd searched in past contexts like martial arts kata competition and Aikido's "Dynamic Sphere" as an intuitive clairscentient practice. These were physical exercises in the effort to integrate mind and body, and develop an awareness and appreciation of "flow" while pursuing opportunities to embody it in the moment. The suggested context of the Japanese zen garden in response to the abstract sketch below connected this powerful pathway to the studio practice. Not with a resounding "click", though the fly on the wall may have jumped into flight just the same, but with a "vibrating flowing buzzing joyful silence" - in this light, the practice of contemplating, composing, and integrating line, form, structure and colors that speak "the same language" as the Japanese zen garden, becomes the joyful study and pursuit of opportunities to embody in the moment, the patterns of flow.
excerpt - Alan Watts | The Watercourse Way

The Tao is a certain kind of order, and this kind of order is not quite what we call order when we arrange everything geometrically in boxes, or in rows. That is a very crude kind of order, but when you look at a plant it is perfectly obvious that the plant has order. We recognize at once that is not a mess, but it is not symmetrical and it is not geometrical looking. The plant looks like a Chinese drawing, because they appreciated this kind of non-symmetrical order so much that it became an integral aspect of their painting. In the Chinese language this is called li, and the character for li means the markings in jade. It also means the grain in wood and the fiber in muscle. We could say, too, that clouds have li, marble has li, the human body has li. We all recognize it, and the artist copies it whether he is a landscape painter, a portrait painter, an abstract painter, or a non-objective painter. They all are trying to express the essence of li. The interesting thing is, that although we all know what it is, there is no way of defining it. Because Tao is the course, we can also call li the watercourse, and the patterns of li are also the patterns of flowing water. We see those patterns of flow memorialized, as it were, as sculpture in the grain in wood, which is the flow of sap, in marble, in bones, in muscles. All these things are patterned according to the basic principles of flow. --

A lifelong adventure map
ped in the i-ki dip of pen in ink, the scratch of point along ground, the flow of oil pastelled into life through the breadth of the wrist........a joyful way to live a making!

top image:
copyright Troy Kujala; Troy Kujala Photography
middle image: copyright Ron Cooper; Ron Cooper Photography
bottom image: copyright Yvonne Mestre ; Mesman Images

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