I came off the bed where I did not sleep and sat down to do a drawing.
The colors will come in the day, I thought. This is indeed what happened.
I had a feeling about how I wanted the language of the painting to be. It was a pleasant feeling, like a feeling that I used to get when I would be on my way to the swimming pool, already imagining the sensation of water touching my body everywhere.
I want to write about this language.
But first, it seems there is some form that is being depicted in the picture. Maybe it is some sort of a big man with a bird’s head. Whatever it is, it is made of a flimsy structure of moving lines that hold a strange gathering of soft, mostly translucent shapes.
These shapes of colors; what holds them in place? Are they confined? It does not seem so. It looks as if these shapes can move away and be free of the drawing. Some pieces do radiate away.
Do they want to be together? Maybe their behavior has nothing to do with wanting? Maybe this is just what they do when they are in certain circumstances?
All these details are told with the language of the artwork. You can say, maybe, that the language and the story that is being told cannot be separated.
Just like in any language, when the language and what it describes cannot be separated, the whole thing becomes a poem. Or maybe, since this is a visual art piece, maybe we can say that it gives the feeling of something true. If we experience this feeling, we tend to like the painting and usually it is hard, if at all possible for us, to explain why we like it. The whole experience belongs in a different realm than the one we usually describe successfully with a language.
But is this at all possible to describe any experience in a language?
This is why for some of us the language of numbers feels more capable of describing phenomena or experiences. If it is three, then it is three and nothing else. At least we know this. But do we?
Maybe this is good enough for now, for this discussion?
I want to aim the light of our thinking onto the use of the visual language. I think that the language shares more information than the content.
So the lines here seem as if they are not sure where they are going. They try and fail to describe something. But in their failure, a feeling is created that something is there. We are not sure what exactly the lines do. Do they try to describe a shape, or do they describe the quivering of the energies as they move through the form? Is it a living form, because there is energy moving through it?
How does the form feel? Does it want to be there? Is it wondering about itself and its environment?
Is it just trying to be filled with enough being, so it can experience everything around and in it?
And as such, does it matter at all what the form is? It is a wanting to experience. This is enough.
And let’s take the colored forms.
They come together as different units of being, made of what? Maybe too made of wanting to know or wanting to experience? They touch each other and overlap, where they mix with each other. They accompany the quivering curious delineated shape of lines and they interact with it too.
And all the parts, the lines and the shapes, are free in their nature. They don’t have to be there. They have just come together as a strange occurrence, involving all kinds of being, stories and feelings, out of their common curiosity.
Are they focused on the inner world, so to speak, or the outward one? It seems that there is nothing really substantial in their gathering. Nothing is heavily real in both the inner and the outer world that they create. Only deep, rolling, playing interest in what can be made up and be experienced.
But since there is nothing very substantial in that coming together of these suggestive, wandering lines and the friendly mixing together color shapes, then who is experiencing anyway?
You see? All of this is given or shared through the language of this art.
Who needs a subject then?
Well, we need a subject for this coming together and experiencing. But it is never as substantive as we make it to be in our thoughts.
Think about it if you wish, or maybe it will become a poem?
I used to be a graphic designer and an illustrator. I became involved with the Chan Meditation Center and studied meditation and Buddhist knowledge with the late Master Sheng-yen from Taiwan. For twelve years I was in a process of deepening my meditation. I had many more experiences and insights and my life changed. After having illustrated more than 40 children’s books and writing two of them, I left this career too and went to New York University to study art therapy.