Monday, March 18, 2013

What makes the heart leap

This is not a beautiful lagoon.  It's messy, ill-kempt, and very likely polluted.  Nor is this a perfect photo.  It's never a good idea to have an image divided in half; 1/3 to 2/3 is generally a much better proportion to follow.  The tops of the trees are almost completely washed out.  It's a very busy picture, and there are those branches popping in from the upper right that really shouldn't be there.

... none of which changes the fact that I like this image.  I like it every time I see it in my files, but I actually don't think I've ever published it, for all the reasons listed above; it just breaks too many rules.  But I'm beginning to listen to what I've understood intellectually for some time now: it's really not about the rules, it's about the response -- and I know, that's really a "I don't know much about art, but I know what I like" sort of sentiment.

But I just had my first sale of a painting this week: someone saw one of my images on the net and responded to it so deeply that she just had to have it.  Which thrilled me -- not so much because she actually bought something of mine, but because she responded to it as deeply as I did (it was the first painting I did that actually made my heart leap when it was done.)

Having been raised in the Christian tradition, I've heard a lot of discussions over the years about discernment, about that mystical kind of knowing we get when something seems to be "of God."  Plus I've read those wonderful novels by Susan Howatch, which make it so clear how easy it is (and we've all seen this through the years) to confuse the ego's voice of longing with the voice of God -- something that's become increasingly obvious in the political arena as well.

So how can we know the voice of the spirit from the voice of ego?  I don't have an answer to that question -- certainly not an answer that works for everyone.  And if there WERE an easy, obvious answer, I think the world would probably be a MUCH nicer place than it is.  But for me, the one thing that feels most like spirit talking is that little leap of the heart you get sometimes, when things just feel... right. 

So it should have come as no surprise to me that when I found an artist on the web (Madeline Denaro) whose work I just ADORED, it turned out that she is a student of the Fourth Way of Gurdjieff and mystical/esoteric Christianity.  Yet another indicator that how we spend our time directly influences who we are and what we produce. 

So how will you spend your time today -- and what will you be studying?


Maureen said...

Congratulations on the sale, Diane!

For me, ultimately, art always is about "what I like". Why else have it if it doesn't speak to me in some meaningful way?

Denaro's work is wonderful. Thank you for including the link.

Cheryl said...

I too do not follow the rules of photography. I understand the thirds rule and how to compose said photo based on this and that, but always coloring in the lines doesn't speak to my soul. I like lying on the ground and taking a photo through blades of grass, I love the challenge of a dead tree silhouetted in a knothole in a fence and if I listened to all the rules, half of the photos I have taken would never have been taken.

But too, I don't take photos to show you an image, I try to elicit a feeling, a longing, something that speaks to your inner being. Success to me is not in the dollars lining my pockets, but in the response to any given photo.

Diane Walker said...

Thanks, Maureen!

-- and beautifully said, Cheryl. We have a local photography club, and I went to one of their sessions once. It turned out to be a critique, and the woman in charge judged every piece by the rules (uneven horizon, broke rule of thirds, too strong a diagonal, etc.) and never spoke of the emotional response or the intent behind any of the pieces. The only time I went back was to give a talk on exploring and bending the rules...

Debra said...

I don't think I would ever have known this lagoon was polluted simply by looking at the picture. I see leaves floating on top. I see the remarkable mirror image of the downed tree and the tree next to it. Reflection that clear means stillness. There is serenity and stillness from that picture. Thanks for finally publishing it; it may not follow the rules as you say, but then again, we are supposed to color outside the lines in order to expand our images from time to time. Beauty isn't only within the rules. Nor is obedience, oddly enough.

Great thoughts too. I will check out the link you included.