creating from joy

 
Many years ago I copied Thuksey Rinpoche’s words of wisdom from Andrew Harvey’s book,  A Journey in Ladakh. I mounted them on card, and wherever I have set up a home and studio, they have been pinned up. I never tire of them, and it’s easy to see what an influence they have had on both my work and this website. Gratitude for this  profound teaching.

 

 

The most beautiful paintings and sculptures, the greatest poetry, have not always been born from torment or bitterness.

Often they have sprung from contemplation, from joy, from an instinct or wonder toward all things.

To create from joy, to create from wonder, demands a continual discipline, a great compassion. . . .

With time and sincerity, you will discover a way to work and write that does not harm you spiritually, that does not tempt you to vanity, that is the deepest expression of your spirituality.

You will find a voice that is not your voice only, but the voice of Reality itself. . . .

If you can be empty enough, that voice can speak through you.

If you can be humble enough, that voice can inhabit you and use you.

– Thuksey Rinpoche


From A Journey in Ladakh by Andrew Harvey

Photo credit: Prayer flags on the Digar La, Ladakh, Rudolph Abraham


Cézanne and the art of nondual nonfinito

 

Or – getting emptiness exactly right

 

Paul Cézanne La Montagne Sainte-Victoire vue des Lauves

La Montagne Sainte Victoire vue des Lauves, Paul Cézanne, 1901-1906

 

As Cézanne aged, his paintings became filled by more and more naked canvas, what he eloquently called nonfinito. No one had ever done this before. The painting was clearly incomplete. How could it be art? But Cézanne was unfazed by his critics. He knew that his paintings were only literally blank. Their incompleteness was really a metaphor for the process of sight. In these unfinished canvases, Cézanne was trying to figure out what the brain would finish for him. As a result, his ambiguities are exceedingly deliberate, his vagueness predicated on precision. If Cézanne wanted us to fill in his empty spaces, then he had to get his emptiness exactly right.

For example, look at Cézanne’s watercolors of Mont Sainte-Victoire. In his final years, Cézanne walked every morning to the crest of Les Lauves, where an expansive view of the Provençal plains opened up before him. He would paint in the shade of a linden tree. From there, Cézanne said, he could see the land’s hidden patterns, the way the river and vineyards were arranged in overlapping planes. In the background was always the mountain; that jagged isosceles of rock that seemed to connect the dry land with the infinite sky….

And yet the mountain does not disappear. It is there, an implacable and adamant presence. The mind easily invents the form that Cézanne’s paint barely insinuates. Although the mountain is almost literally invisible – Cézanne has only implied its presence – its looming gravity anchors the painting. We don’t know where the painting ends and we begin…

– Jonah Lehrer: Proust was a Neuroscientist


Source – http://www.selfdiscoveryportal.com/Conquest.htm
PS – The entire article is well worth reading.


and then along came Lu

 

Miriam Louisa Simons: detail from scroll - Lu

Lu,  220 x 220 

Detail from scroll  (980 x 355)
torn khadi papers, stainless steel gauze, acrylic paints
lurex threads, textured canvas, ceramic tile fragment

 

I dug out my Zen and Taoist texts, poked around online encyclopedialand, and found that Mu and Ku are Japanese words with – to the uninitiated – apparently similar meaning.

Mu: lit. nothing.  Space, emptiness, clearness, transparency.

Ku: lit. sky, space, mouth.  Three-dimensional void, sunyata, emptiness.

Wu is a Chinese Taoist word.  Lit. not have, without.  Commonly used to indicate not-being, creative quietude, letting-be.  Not too far out of step with Mu and Ku, it seems to me.

Then I looked up Lu.  Unsurprisingly it’s a shortening of Louisa, and guess what?  It means famous warrior and light.  I don’t know about the warrior bit, but I love the light.

And I love the way my work teaches me all I need to know.


a kakemono called ku