Thursday, March 13, 2014

if Picasso crosses your mind

A plethora of kitchen table photographs this morning which I took yesterday morning and which are more about the light than the object on the table. Generally, what is done in these situations, is to whittle the photographs down to one or two of the best from such a shoot. But I don't suppose what I'm shooting for here is perfection, I'm shooting to learn something from the light. To feel the light. Something like that. In short, the images may mean more to me than anyone else, but then, this will always be the way.

While they were uploading, I was reading the blogs of others. For example, Alive on All Channels, where I read these words by the artist Agnes Martin:

From Reflections:

I'd like to talk about the perfection underlying life.

When the mind is covered over with perfection and the heart is filled with delight but I wish not to deny the rest.

In our minds, there is awareness of perfection;
When we look with our eyes we see it,
And how it functions is mysterious to us and unavailable.

When we live our lives it's something like a race - our minds become concerned and covered over and we get depressed and have to get away for a holiday.

And then sometimes there are moments of perfection and in those moments we wonder why we ever thought life was difficult.

We think that our feet at last are on the right path and that we will not falter or fail. We're absolutely convinced we have the solution and then the moment is over. Moments of awareness are not complete awareness, just a moments of blindness are not completely blind.

In moments of blindness when you meet someone you know well, they seem hardly recognizable, and no one seems even a stranger to oneself. These experience of the mind are too quickly passed over and forgotten, although startling moments of awareness are never forgotten.

Seeking awareness of perfection in the mind is called living the inner life.

She is quoted as saying, “If Picasso crosses your mind while you’re painting, it’s all over,” in this article on ArtNews.

And then I found this:

from Agnes Martin’s notes for “On the Perfection Underlying Life”

"Perfection, of course, cannot be represented. The slightest indication of it is eagerly grasped by observers. The work is so far from perfection because we ourselves are so far from perfection. The oftener we glimpse perfection or the more conscious we are in our awareness of it the farther away it seems to be. Or perhaps I should say the more we are aware of perfection the more we realize how very far away from us it is. That is why art work is so very hard. It is a working through disappointments to greater disappointment and a growing recognition of failure to the point of defeat. But still one wakes in the morning and there is the inspiration and one goes on.
I want to emphasize the fact that increase in disappointment does not mean going backward in the work. There is no such thing as backward in anything. There is increased and decreased awareness that is all and increased awareness means increased disappointments. If any perfection is indicated in the work it is recognized by the artist as truly miraculous so he feels that he can take no credit for its sudden appearance.
What does it mean to be defeated. It means that we cannot go on. We cannot make another move. Everything that we thought we could do we have done without result. We even give up all hope of getting the work and perhaps even the desire to have it.
But we still go on without hope or desire or dreams or anything. Just going on with almost no memory of having done anything.
Then it is not us.
Then it is not I.
Then it is not conditioned response.
Then there is some hope of a hint of perfection. 
Without hope there is hope.
And without desire there is hope.
We do not ever stop because there is no way to stop. No matter what you do you will not escape. There is no way out. You may as well go ahead with as little resistance as possible – and eat everything on your plate. Going on without resistance or notions is called discipline. Going on when hope and desire have been left behind is discipline. Going on in an impersonal way without personal considerations is called discipline."

{You can read the piece in its entirety here}.

So, shooting these photographs, though none of them are even remotely perfect, and many of them technically wrong-headed, still, there was that feeling of being in the presence of the mystery, of experiencing delight. Light. Accompanied by the feeling that life is not difficult, not matter how difficult life is.

That without hope, yet, there is hope.


  1. I used to say I found your blog "by accident". How incorrect I was. I know now I was meant to find it. Every time I come here...and I mean EVERY TIME...I am better because of it. You put more light into the lives of us who read it.

  2. Thank you for sharing your light with us today, I especially love the light in Buddha's hands :).

  3. I love the light in your images... and Agnes Martin words are the bonus.

  4. You've all made my day with these comments. Thanks ever so much.

  5. A fascinating study of light and wonderful words.

  6. The light through the oranges is gorgeous. And I love the idea that cleaning my plate is discipline. It is, darn it! Well done, S.


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