complexity in the commonplace

'People are a marvelous mystery to me.  I often see them in color; some are ruddy and some are silver gray.  They're moods in themselves.  To me everyone is as important as everyone else; everything is as important as everything else.  In some way a tree is just as important as a person, in its own life.'  -Andrew Wyeth, from Andrew Wyeth A Secret Life by Richard Merryman

Andrew Wyeth, Coot Hunter, 1941

Andrew Wyeth, Coot Hunter, 1941

Odilon Redon's Armor

this complicated image stays with me, I saw it a long time ago on a trip to the Met.  in it there is resoluteness . strength . a resignation?  ... the fascination of the spiked helmet ... but also the strange closeness . constriction . of the armor, it gives the drawing a silence.  

can you take on armor without it integrating, becoming a part of your person?, useful but not continuously shielding?

Odilon Redon, Armor, 1891, charcoal and conte crayon, 20x14.5"

Frederick Franck

'The good drawings I do are hardly mine.  Only the bad ones are mine for they are the ones where I can't let go, am caught in the Me-cramp ...

That which draws in SEEING/DRAWING is that which I really am, but which I cannot possibly define and label.  It simply defines itself by the way it draws.  SEEING/DRAWING therefore is an impossible effort as long as the ego tries to force it.  Once the ego lets go, it becomes effortless.

Emerson deflates the pseudo-originality the ego strains for: "What you are speaks so loudly, I can't hear what you say."  A Zen sage has said: "You are putting a head on top of the one you already have ..."

In the bad drawings the parts remain parts.  But good or bad, once a drawing is finished it should be forgotten.  After all, it is only a fossil of experience - a fossil, however, that at any time can be resurrected by any eye that is sufficiently awake to follow the lines as process, to sense that a DRAWING IS NOT A THING BUT AN ACT.'

- Frederick Franck's the Zen of Seeing  SEEING/DRAWING as meditation

Frederick Franck, from Moments of Seeing

Frederick Franck, from Moments of Seeing

initiation song from the finders' lodge

Please bring strange things.
Please come bringing new things.
Let very old things come into your hands.
Let what you do not know come into your eyes.
Let desert sand harden your feet.
Let the arch of your feet be the mountains.
Let the paths of your fingertips be your maps
and the ways you go be the lines on your palms.
Let there be deep snow in your inbreathing
and your outbreath be the shining of ice.
May your mouth contain the shapes of strange words.
May you smell food cooking you have not eaten.
May the spring of a foreign river be your navel.
May your soul be at home where there are no houses.
Walk carefully, well loved one,
walk mindfully, well loved one,
walk fearlessly, well loved one.
Return with us, return to us,
be always coming home.

  • - Ursula LeGuin