Frederick Franck's Ten Commandments of Seeing/Drawing

Frederick Franck’s Ten Commandments of Seeing/Drawing

“There is no other valid reason for drawing than the awareness of the eye awakening from its half-sleep.  There is — I am convinced — no other good reason for art . . .”
— Frederick Franck, from The Awakened Eye, 1979

I would like to do a better job following the First Commandment, to make art everyday.  Here is today’s bouquet of sweet peas:

Watercolor painting of sweet peas

Watercolor painting of sweet peas

 

National Poetry Month. 24

“There is no literature or art without love and contemplation.”
— John Burroughs, from Under the Apple-Trees, ” Literature and Science”

My work table with tulips

My work table with tulips

“It is not in the act of seeing things or apprehending facts that we differ so much from one another, as in the act of interpreting what we see or apprehend.  Interpretation opens the door to the play of temperament and imagination, and to the bias of personality, and is therefore within the sphere of literature. . . . The poetic, the religious, the ethical mind will never be satisfied with the interpretation of the physical universe given us by the scientific mind.”
— John Burroughs, from Under the Apple-Trees, ” Literature and Science”

“. . . a poem, or other work of art, is fact and observation plus the man. . . . Our best growth is attained when we match knowledge with love, insight with reverence, understanding with sympathy and enjoyment; else the machine becomes more and more, and the man less and less.”
— John Burroughs, from Under the Apple-Trees, ” Literature and Science”

“Chance is fundamental to the workings of the creative mind. . . . an artist’s originality lies in seeing which of chance’s gifts might be of use.  Something that is only ‘different’ is not yet art.  The accidental discovery must still be turned into meaning, the unlikely juxtaposition made into exuberant connection.”
— Jane Hirshfield, Nine Gates Entering the Mind of Poetry: Essays

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Tulips

Watercolor sketch of tulips from Carol's garden

Watercolor sketch of tulips from Carol’s garden

 

National Poetry Month. 11

Blossoms

Blossoms

“Poetry is the kind of thing you have to see from the corner of your eye.  You can be too well prepared for poetry.  A conscientious interest in it is worse than no interest at all.  If you analyze it away, it’s gone.  It would be like boiling a watch to find out what makes it tick.”
— William Stafford, from Sound of the Ax: Aphorisms and Poems by William Stafford, ed. Vincent Wixon and Paul Merchant

 

 

Seduction

April 7, 2014

National Poetry Month.7

Forsythia

Forsythia

What to write about? What to draw or paint?

“What we regard must seduce us, and we it, if we are to continue looking.”
— Jane Hirshfield, “The World is Large and Full of Noises:  Thoughts on Translation,”  Nine Gates Entering the Mind of Poetry

“Suffer yourself to be attracted.  It is vain to work on chosen themes.  We must wait till they have kindled a flame in our minds.  There must be the generating force of love behind every effort destined to be successful.”
— Henry David Thoreau, from Winter: The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol 8, January 30, 1852

I think that what draws us in, what captivates our interest and attention, is something of a mystery.  The challenge for me, after photographing each season’s offerings for over five years now, is to keep looking with “new” eyes, to look closely enough for a fresh angle.

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Forsythia blossoms strung like beads on a necklace

Forsythia blossoms strung like beads on a necklace

Spiraling whorls of my moon snail shell

Spiraling whorls of my moon snail shell

“Studying and understanding the ‘Way of Anything’ leads one to understand the ‘Way of Everything.’”
— Barry Behrstock, The Way of the Artist:  Reflections on Creativity and the Life, Home, Art and Collections of Richard Marquis

I like that my moon snail shell connects me to the larger world in ways that I don’t fully understand.  I find the task of looking closely at it and then drawing or painting it very like meditation.  I lose myself for a time.

The Three Goals
by David Budbill, from Moment to Moment: Poems of a Mountain Recluse

The first goal is to see the thing itself
in and for itself, to see it simply and clearly
for what it is.
No symbolism, please.

The second goal is to see each individual thing
as unified, as one, with all the other
ten thousand things.
In this regard, a little wine helps a lot.

The third goal is to grasp the first and second goals,
to see the universal in the particular,
simultaneously.
Regarding this one, call me when you get it.

Moon Snail Shell # 36, watercolor pencil sketch with washes

Moon Snail Shell # 36, watercolor pencil sketch with washes