#O150: It sees Me

It feels like I am still finding my feet again after a break in painting. Some strange combination of urgency and anxiety about my paintings seems to have left me – I don’t know for how long and if it is to the benefit of my art or not.


This version was painted over my earlier painting Another Road (Oil Version). The images below shows the progression to the current version. Although the two photos were not taken in the same light situation, you can see what an amazing effect the sky has on the landscape – showing yet again that our perception of color is very relative to what we put next to it.


This morning I wrote a letter to my son who is away on an 18 week Venture School experience. At the school they spend most of the time outdoors and have almost no access to technology except during school lessons which mostly happen on weekends.

Knowing how much my son likes technology, I expect that the experience will be challenging to him. As I was closing off my letter, I thought long and hard what advice I could give him. I know he is resourceful and intelligent – any Pollyanna-like words would be met with an eye-roll. I ended my letter as follows:

… always keep practicing and strengthening your self-awareness. Watch and observe your moods, your thoughts and emotions and learn that you are more than those things. As your self-awareness grows, so will your happiness, compassion for others and your ability to meaningfully influence others. Keep asking how you can be the best version of yourself, then leave the rest up to the Creator.

Nisargadatta said:

You can do nothing to bring [Self-realization] about, but you can avoid creating obstacles. Watch your mind, how it comes into being, how it operates. As you watch your mind, you discover your self as the watcher. When you stand motionless, only watching, you discover your self as the light behind the watcher. The source of light is dark, unknown is the source of knowledge. That source alone is. Go back to that source and abide there.

I am That (42)

I found that some poetry can act as pointers to the silence, the source that Nisargada alludes to. Some may not agree with me. But read the following poem intently while observing the mind. See if the mind goes – perhaps just for a split second – to silent emptiness at the end of the last line.

Street Crossing
Cold wind hits my eyes, and two or three suns
dance in the kaleidoscope of tears, as I cross
this street I know so well,
where the Greenland summer shines from snowpools.

The street's massive life swirls around me;
it remembers nothing and desires nothing.
Far under the traffic, deep in earth,
the unborn forest waits, still, for a thousand years.

It seems to me that the street can see me.
Its eyesight is so poor the sun itself
is a gray ball of yarn in black space.
But for a second I am lit. It sees me.

Tomas Transtromer, translated by Robert Bly in:
The Half Finished Heaven

Thanks for visiting!

10 thoughts on “#O150: It sees Me

  1. I was scrolling through the paintings and though how neat on the first one. Almost like two different worlds at the same time, but they somehow go together. I think the color choices give that effect. Then I went to the original and thought, what a beautiful sky and gold path. Then I got to the third picture and thought…what a beautiful sky and ground…but doesn’t work together..to perfect with imperfect…which brought me back to the completed painting and I said bam! Two worlds in one painting. Perfectly imperfect.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Okay, I’m not allowing that you painted over the landscape this time. Seems to me that something else has happened — you have simply developed the painting further. The problem with complex painting is that it isn’t exactly clear when the painting is “done.” So the first iteration was an underpainting, and now further work has developed it into a more complex image. Really love it. I think you’re traveling to a new place, artistically.

    The poetry is wonderful. I enjoy learning about poetry at your blog. I didn’t experience the silent emptiness perhaps because my life is very noisy and cluttered (the dog is pestering me mercilessly even as I write), but I love the poem all the same. Wonderful thought about the forest under the pavement — probably prophetic. Also it is so kind — so very, very kind of you to share the beautiful message that you sent to your son. So we all are at camp too (at least vicariously) and receive this wonderful affirming message.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! I will adopt your interpretation from now on – never again “painted over”, simply “reworked”. Indeed when is a painting really done. I know of several painters who worked on paintings for years – in some cases decades. I think Albert Pinkham Ryder was one of those.
      Glad to hear you liked the poetry – I sometimes wonder if anyone reads it! But I often revisit old posts and it brings my favorite poems back again. I hope your own painting and teaching is going well. I noticed you do not post that often now, which is fine as long as you are content and marginally happy! I am going through all sorts of transitions, asking big questions of my intention with art – all fruitful explorations – but it does take the urgency out of posting so often. Once again, many thanks for your very kind and thoughtful comments.


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