Resonant: Having a lasting presence or effect; enduring. Strongly reminiscent; evocative. Enigma: A person or thing that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand.
Some things you might find here: Paintings; drawings; abstract and representational; sketches; doodles; photos; thoughts on art and its processes, my influences; thoughts on meditation and so-called "spiritual" teachings, non duality, Taoism, Zen, etc., and teahers/sages like Chuang Tzu, Lao Tzu, Krishnamurti (both), Wei Wu Wei (Terence Gray), Galen Sharp, Steven Norquist, Eckhart Tolle, Ramana Maharshi, etc.... and doG knows what else, really...
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~ I think I just needed to clarify this, for myself...
The difference between absorption in activity, such as sketching, etc., and nondual disappearance of the "doer" or self image...
This has puzzled me for some time. It's often the case that I lose "myself" so thoroughly during artistic endeavor that it seems, when I'm finished, that "I" didn't even do it. The activity happened on its own, as it were, and I was...dissolved so to speak into the whole thing; awareness of the experience is there but, no "me" that I'm aware of.
According to what I've learned, I don't think this is the same thing as the paradigm shifting transcendence of "self-no self" pointed to in nondual teachings.
But why? I've often wondered. Well, for one thing nondual teachings, and many who have seen it for themselves, say that in finally thoroughly seeing through the illusory nature of self image, one no longer finds one's identity in said image. If any identity at all is left, it shifts from self image to pure awareness. The foundational awareness that brings this whole show into appearance is seen to be one's true nature.
Whereas, after absorption in art, my self image is 'gloriously' back in the forefront, stronger and healthier than before! Like something I read once about why people enjoy sex so much--or jumping in freezing cold water in the dead of winter; same effect, take your pick-- "Nothing renews the ego like temporarily losing it."
Maybe it's the combination of the two, in my mind, that's making me think there might nevertheless be some valuable insight possible in the artistic absorption that can sort of help direct the attention towards the nondual realization. After all, it clearly demonstrates to the mind that function is fuller without active interference from the false persona...
Art by me, also: Top is pencil in sketchbook, I think 8.5x5.5". From photos of mine. It always reminds me, 'cause I used them before in conjunction, of this quote from Goethe: "We talk far too much. We should talk less and draw more. I personally should like to renounce speech altogether and, like organic Nature, communicate everything I have to say in sketches. That fig tree, this little snake, the cocoon on my window sill quietly awaiting its future – all these are momentous signatures. A person able to decipher their meaning properly would soon be able to dispense with the written or the spoken word altogether. The more I think of it, there is something futile, mediocre, even (I am tempted to say) foppish about speech. By contrast, how the gravity of Nature and her silence startle you, when you stand face to face with her, undistracted, before a barren ridge or in the desolation of ancient hills."
The second piece is ink and watercolor on 6x4" wc paper. This one epitomizes what I was talking about above: absorption so thorough I even signed it "NotMe", 'cause "I" wasn't there.
Pigma Micron in 5x3.5" sketchbook. So titled in reference to an exchange Nicola and I had last time acknowledging the therapeutic effect of artwork. The conversation sorta stuck with me so I thought I might oughta get me some this morning. It worked.
That's actually not a "bridge," per se, but the walk over the ditch in front of Mom's house. And no, I didn't squat down in the ditch to do this; it's from a photo I took about this time last year, and it's a lot easier on my old joints to hunker down for a snap than it would have been for the 40 minutes or so I worked on this. 😉
Pigma Micron in 3.5x5.0 sketch book. "Departed" just came to me as something to call it in the files, I guess since the building depicted is all that's left of the old mall. That's the remains of the old Sears store, and where I'm sitting is probably about where the food court was. I was drawn to the science-fictiony post apocalyptic look, which may be just in my imagination due to the absence of what I know used to be there, 'cause I don't see it in the sketch.
I also don't see proper perspective on the building; I let my hand drift up toward the right when it should have been angling slightly down; a beginner's mistake that creeps back in when you haven't drawn at all in almost a year...due to 'difficult' situations...that I'm looking into...
A bitter irony is that drawing and painting shore me up, help me cope in the face of 'difficult situations', better than anything else(almost?) yet that's often the first thing, the first activity I tend to drop when these kind of situations arise. Perhaps I need to strategize...
PS: Just in case there might still be someone out there who doesn't know, you can see a larger version of the sketch by clicking on it. I just like it better smaller.
(Hey Google, you need to update your spellcheck. It thinks "strategize" is not a word.)
I think I'm not going to put much more of my older paintings up on this blog, since most of what that would consist is already up on Facebook, HERE.
Meanwhile here's a 'step-bystep' of one I like from 2008, the most thoroughly documented "procedural" I've got.
First off the finished product, "Hidey Hole," 10x8" oil on canvas, 2008. From an old photo.
Step 1, sketch in with charcoal.
Then a monotone value study, with mostly just a wash of burnt sienna.
Next, block in the darks. Sorry, it's been too long, I don't remember the exact colors used.
The sky must be next, to help set the tone, you might say, of all that's to come.
...and work on the sky. 'Til I get that "just right" feeling of it. Thin, semi-transparent layers makes it look more...airy, or something. Deep like a sky is what I'm after.
Starting on the background...
Establishing color in the background.
A little more detail...
...but the color's wrong. Start over
That's more like it. More muted, more like I actually see it.
Then a lot of fun drawing leaves and limbs in the deep shadow color.
A little bit of detail in the tree leaves, and the brush below.
A kind of neutral base color on the left tree, where the light hits...
...and the 'bark-y' textures pop out.
Hidey Hole is the first in a three-part series, the other two on which I've made a start, yet to finish. I call it, in my mind at least, the "Unconscious Perinatal Projection Series." A triptych, I guess. Sort of. More on that later...