“not so fast, buster”


Amanda Robins: Vessel II Heart

Amanda Robins, Vessel II (Heart), 2003, 115 x 178 cm
pencil on Arches watercolour paper

Australian art critic and author Robert Hughes has died in New York after a long struggle with worsening health problems.

I wish to honor him for all the well-known contributions he has made to our culture, including the controversial ones, and also for his insight that “we have had a gutful of fast art and food”.

Without being remotely aware of it, he was part of the team of thinkers firing my motivation to compile the awakened eye website.  He features on the slow art page, which includes a brief review of the treasure of a book Slow Art: Meditative Process in Painting and Drawing, by Australian artist Amanda Robins.  It seems fitting to accompany this post with one of her exquisite drawings.

The camera, if it’s lucky, may tell a different truth to drawing – but not a truer one.  Drawing brings us into a different, a deeper and more fully experienced relation to the object.  A good drawing says: “not so fast, buster”.  We have had a gutful of fast art and fast food.

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, 2004

SBS news report

Amanda Robins’ website

Amanda Robins at the artisans’ gallery

meditative process made visible

slow art

awareness cannot be seen or known

That we know this awareness exists means only that we have an idea of awareness.

We do not see that awareness as itself an object, nor can we ever do so.

If we are to know the awareness by itself, first we would have to drop knowing its objects, its reflections in thought, including the ego-thought, and then be it, not see it.

– Paul Brunton, Notebooks

consciousness, contemplation and creativity

The artist has to re-present our world of conceptualised objects, separated and extended in space and time, as it really is. He has to reinterpret our model of reality in line with direct experience and to convey this ‘taste of eternity’. We could call this twofold activity contemplation and creativity. Contemplation is the passive aspect; creativity is the dynamic aspect. These are two inseparable aspects of consciousness.


I reasoned that if these two elements – the presence of an object in itself and the consciousness to which it appears – are essential ingredients of every object, there must be a relationship between them. So I began to explore the relationship between consciousness and its object, between that which sees, hears, feels and thinks and that which is seen, heard, felt and thought about. I reasoned that if there is a distinction between the two, there must be some perceivable interface or border between them. I looked for such a border between the subject and its object, but could not find one.

– Rupert Spira


rupert spira at the artisans’ gallery

nature’s eternity