Saturday, April 4, 2009

Reality Questioning

What is it that we actually do?

I was reading an interview with an artist, recently, who, while discussing a certain large and brilliant watercolor piece, wondered if "it is really only one painting", considering the fact that everyone views a work of art an absolutely unique, unmatchable way. This ensures that there are as many interpretations of it as there are viewers. Of course, this extends to all perception.

We can agree on our common descriptions, the mode of language around the painting of a vase full of roses, or the sound of a crying child or the texture of velvet. The "sensed object", or "objective moment of creation" appears to stand on its own...but we "make" it happen, bring it to life with our senses. Or does it bring us to life? What is it that "triggers" us to attend, focus, bring all of our senses to bear on an experience?

Glancing up from my magazine, I wondered just how many couches appear in a day in my living many limitless versions might there be of that situation--"couch"--that I perceive? It is the couch I almost broke my toe on...the couch I recline on when my feet hurt...the couch I wish I could replace with a nicer one. Is it even possible to know what an original version of anything is?

No. Yes.

Some folks consider these lines of questioning pointless and impractical. But this kind of digging below an obvious surface--paying more thorough attention to different aspects of Being coming into play--practically guarantees a life saturated with beauty and interest.

As an artist familiar with creating something from nothing, I realize that I really have no idea how this process happens. I can only talk about it after the fact, isolate with a language the "creating" from its field of Entire Universe, seen and unseen...with memory, imagination, intuition, psychic nudge, yesterday's chocolate. I can break it into "steps", starting from when I set up a canvas or picked up a brush or took my first breath in 1964.

But the steps are all arbitrary, and while in the midst of applying paint, I have no conscious reference point. I am not separate from the process. The thing makes itself, somehow. There is no "I" to decide where to put a tree in a landscape--the decision began when spacetime did...if it did. :)

As far as a "prompt" for a particular work...I don't know that, either. What I am is a motion, which I "stop" for mental description, which is also part of this eternal movement-as-something.

I can say that a painting is "finished" when I no longer change its physical characteristics--but every person gazing upon it continues its life, makes it new, makes it all over again. It is never "mine". Neither is the couch, or my child, or these thoughts. Only the absolute entirety of existence and nonexistence can be mine. Once I break it up, it no longer is. Then it belongs to every/one.

There is only one original version of original, that language can't explain it. You.

So what is it that we do all day, all our lives? What is this enchanted thing?
We create everything from nothing, as if that's what we are born for.

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