look with fresh eyes

It’s rare to come upon an extraordinarily creative artist who also has a wise and poetic way with words. And to find that this artist has brought together her two skills within the covers of a book that is not only a visual delight but an inspiration for the contemplative creative, is such a joy. Her name is Karen Divine, and she hails from that hotbed of creativity, Boulder, Colorado.

Karen joins the Colorado crew – Jordan Wolfson, Robert Spellman and Lisa Gakyo Schaewe (have I missed anyone?) at the artisans’ gallery. I’m delighted to welcome her. She has opened my eyes to the astonishing creative possibilities of iPhone art.


Our world is filled with internal dialogue, judgments, assumptions and analysis.
We choose these perspectives over having a “direct experience”.
When we view the world with these perspectives, we do not see at all.
We live in a world where certainty and familiarity are most important.
There is another way.

Karen Divine: 16. Harmony. From "A Small Amount of Courage"

16. HARMONY
(LOOK WITH FRESH EYES)

LOOK with fresh eyes at the play of COLOR,
FORM, and TEXTURES that surround you!
This is the most heartfelt approach to embracing
each and every moment. By CONNECTING with HEAVEN
and EARTH you can bring the whole
UNIVERSE into your HANDS

As Rilke expresses beautifully in Letters to a Young Poet: Depict your sorrows and desires, your passing thoughts and beliefs in some kind of beauty, depict all that with heartfelt, quiet, humble sincerity and use to express yourself the things that surround you, the images of your dreams and the objects of your memory.

I have learned to step out of my way, quiet the critic and allow the process to happen, revealing to me a story.

I just shoot my life, stay present and watch what develops.
The opportunities are endless.

– Karen Divine


The image above is from Karen’s book A Small Amount of Courage, which features her iPhone art

“… which you must see to believe. In her book, Karen says, “As an artist, tapping into your own creative spirit is, first and foremost, a matter of developing awareness. This inner awareness allows you to quiet the senses and allows the unconscious to reveal rich imagery.”

Karen used the I Ching as the starting point for each of her images, and her creative process flowed through her meditations, yoga practice, and inspiration from Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet. The result is 64 images, each accompanied by a short verse, that offer profound insights into the most basic human experiences – those that you are more likely to see in the mirror than on the news.

Karen is an internationally recognized artist with more than a dozen prestigious awards for her iPhone art. After one glance at her work, it’s easy to see why – each image in her book is a composite of many images that feature color, lines, and balance. It is whimsical with a touch of melancholy and offers much for the eye to explore. The verses express Karen’s interpretation of the accompanying image and leave you with much to consider. A Small Amount of Courage is a masterwork that belongs on the bookshelf of all who appreciate art and how it can inspire self-realisation.”
– Jeanne Hansen, editor.

A Small Amount of Courage


Karen Divine at the artisans’ gallery


artisans
artisans’ gallery


slow art day – for mindful makers

 

If we but give it time,
a work of art ‘can rap and knock and enter our souls’ and re-align us
– all our molecules –
to make us whole again.
– P K Page

 

Georgia O'Keeffe: Bella Donna 1939 Oil on canvas

Georgia O’Keeffe: Bella Donna 1939

 

Nobody sees a flower – really –
it is so small it takes time – and to see takes time,
like to have a friend takes time.
– Georgia O’Keeffe

 

The Slow Art Movement, which has its day on the yearly stage this weekend (April 12th) has evolved around the activities of contemplatively viewing and gently digesting works of art – mostly within a gallery context. It’s a worthy idea. Anything that encourages us to slow down and really see (art, or anything) is wonderful medicine for the manic mind, and an effective antidote to the ‘glance-categorise-move along’ habit that rushes us through our days.

The notion of ‘Slow Art’ arrived in my life with a different twist. It was ushered in by Robert Hughes:

What we need more of is slow art: art that holds time as a vase holds water: art that grows out of modes of perception and whose skill and doggedness makes you think and feel; art that isn’t merely sensational, that doesn’t get its message across in 10 seconds, that isn’t falsely iconic, that hooks onto something deep-running in our natures.

Robert Hughes in The Guardian, June 2004

and brilliantly explored in Slow Art: Painting and Drawing as a Meditative Process  by Australian artist Amanda Robins:

The physical act of making and our immersion in this activity is the initial doorway to the productive ordering of consciousness known as ‘flow’. It is through this essential aspect that we can lose the sense of ourselves as separate and unique beings and become one with the activity.

The flow experience constitutes a time outside of the ordinary sequence of daily events where clock time loses its meaning and the constant stream of internal dialogue is for the moment, stilled.

The immersion within the world of the ordinary object leads ironically to new ways of seeing ourselves. … The everyday becomes a way of making connections and creating metaphors which can speak, in the end, about the ineffable.

– Amanda Robins

Neither Hughes nor Robins were writing about the viewing of art. They were talking about its making. Their words were manifesto-like for me, directly motivating the creation of this website and blog.

For many makers, quietly involved in their studio practice, submerged in the mystery of creating, slow flow is the daily way. Their art springs from an inexplicable necessity, often contemplative or sacred in nature.

 

Gloria Petyarre: Atnangkere iv 1999

Gloria Petyarre: Atnangkere iv 1999

 

Slow motion opens the mind.
Smooth motion opens the heart.
Slow smooth motion
turns on
the inexplicable delight.
– Paul Reps

 

As Slow Art Day creeps closer, I’m wondering why there isn’t a version for art makers. Why don’t artisans get a ‘special’ day to sit quietly with their chosen mode of expression of visual language and allow their materials and processes free voice without pressure to produce for commissions or shows? Why isn’t there one little day in a year normally lived in a rush of consuming and commodifying set aside for the slow, deliberate, creating of something – anything – we can call our own authentic handwork?

It doesn’t need to qualify as “art” (better it doesn’t, because no one seems certain what that actually is). It just needs to be a simple, quiet, computer-free activity that arises out of stillness and is executed by our own hands with great attention and care. Preferably in silence and solitude – unless one is lucky enough to have the company of folk with similar intentions.

You might be a knitter, taking up needles and yarn for a day’s play without a pattern. Or a potter happy to pinch pots rather than use the wheel, just for a change. Or a photographer stealthily tracking a subject that bridges the gap between subject and object. Or a painter allowing herself to obey the dictates of her hues without design or direction… you get the gist.

P l a y d a y: a day when we enter our studio with beginner’s mind, as though we’re inventing painting or potting or weaving or carving for the very first time in human history, a day when comments from the inner critic will be entirely ignored. (It’s only one day out of 365 for goodness sake!)

As for yours truly, I’ll be breathing. And on each exhalation, I’ll be making a mark. This is how I give thanks for the blessing of the mystery of slow flow, and how I melt into the “inexplicable delight”. My studio is tiny and not properly unpacked or set up yet, but there’s a space for you if you’d like to join me. I’d love that. Let’s start a Slow Art movement of our own…


Image credits:

Georgia O’Keeffe – Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Gloria Petyarre – Utopia Desert Art


slow art

artisans’ gallery


Blake’s eternal delight

When the “old” version of the awakened eye website was being transferred to this site, many shorter pages were edited out.  It seemed they would be better shared as posts.  This is the first – a collection of quotes from William Blake, along with some examples of his artwork.


[Blake] held that the way to truth and higher consciousness was through the contemplation of art. He proposed that by immersing oneself in art, a person could experience it not just as an aesthetic but more akin to the meditative exercise a mystic performs in preparation for achieving a higher state of spiritual enlightenment.

– Leonard Shlain in Art & Physics

[For Blake] every act of the imagination, every union of existence and perception, is a time-space complex … in which time and space as we know them disappear.

– Northrop Frye in Fearful Symmetry: A Study of William Blake


 

The eye altering, alters all.

– William Blake

 

William Blake: Albion Rose, from The Large Book of Designs copy A. © Copyright the Trustees of the British Museum.

 

To see a World in a grain of sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower.
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

 

As a man is, so he sees.
As the eye is formed, such are its powers.

 

If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.
For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through the narrow chinks of his cavern.

 

William Blake: Pity, detail. Metropolitan Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. Robert W. Goelet, 1958 (58.603). Photograph © copyright 1979, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 

First thought is best in art.

 

He who binds to himself a joy
does the winged life destroy;
but he who kisses the joy as it flies
lives in eternity’s sunrise.

 

William Blake: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, copy C, 1790 (Morgan Library and Museum): electronic edition

 

Every man who is not an artist
is a traitor to his own nature…

 


Find more images and in-depth information here:  siteslab at UNC

UPDATE – See Eric Nicholson’s fine article about William Blake’s vision of The Book of Job at The Culturium – highly recommended.


Drawings of William Blake (Dover Fine Art, History of Art) – Edited by Geoffrey Keynes


creative energy : the essence of everything

New at the artisans’ gallery Kongtrul Jigme Namgyel 

 

Untitled 254, 2007
oil on canvas 122cm X 91.5cm

 

Meeting reality directly requires confidence in the fundamentally positive nature of our being.

The more we trust what arises in our mind to come from this creative source, the more we can let the mind be as it is, rather than approach it with judgment, fear or manipulation based on our likes and dislikes. My hope is that my paintings communicate the beauty of this unhindered practice of free expression.

– Kongtrul Jigme Namgyel

kongtruljigme.com

 


on painting

kongtrul jigme namgyel at the artisans’ gallery

the art of disciplined freedom

art as a mirror of the sacred

dharma art courses


the artist as stroke, line, colour, dot …

New at the artisans’ galleryBerry Mank

 

Berry Mank: 2713

 

With the brush rooted in his heart, the artist finds himself in a moment’s tension, transformed into a stroke, line, colour or a single dot.  Everything, according to the artist, pivots around the possibility to express the pure naked gesture, without interference of the intellect.

Once an old master said that the true line is dictated by the spirit and not by the brush; in this way painting becomes a form of meditation, a prayer to celebrate the mystery of life.

– Berry Mank

berrymank.com


berry mank at the artisans’ gallery