Zen Seeing

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03 Dec 2018 19:47 #329946 by _Vergere_
Zen Seeing was created by _Vergere_
I had a bit of a revelation a few minutes ago that I thought I should share...

Since I was a teenager, I had been a painter, mostly of landscapes and such. I never questioned my ability to paint because I happened to be relatively good at it. Then, about a year ago I was looking at something, a picture or a landscape outside a window, and I wondered, "Why must I recreate on canvas something that already exists in the real world?" So I stopped painting. Since then, people—especially my family—could not comprehend why I would give up on such a skill.

I was reading a book on Zen just minutes ago, and I happened upon this quote by John Donne: "God is so omnipresent... God is an angel in an angel, and a stone in a stone, and a straw in a straw." This helped explain to me why I gave up on painting. To replicate a view imperfectly with paint, a view that already is a part of reality, is like chasing the wind; it's like saying a picture of a tree is a tree, but you only know a tree truly by going outside and looking at one. God is in the tree, God is the tree, and God is a tree in a tree. So why create an imitation of one? The real thing is so much more fascinating.


Listen well: Everything I tell you is a lie. Every question I ask is a trick.
You will find no truth in me.

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03 Dec 2018 20:53 #329961 by Arisaig
Replied by Arisaig on topic Zen Seeing
Hmmm. Fascinating idea.

Perhaps we recreate imperfectly so to understand the perfection of the thing? Painting,for example, is only able to capture one layer. What you can phsycially see. It doesn't show the other side of the tree, the inside of the tree, the insects that made it their home, the energy it's producing, the struggle of growth its been through, or the memory within the branches. It captures the physical aspect as it is at that moment. But, in inspection, we can often see these aspects hinted to in works by great masters of their craft. They understand the subject so well they understand even what they cannot show in their painting.

But, just my thoughts on it. Knowing you do not know and wanting to know more to know what you do not know more. XD if that makes a lick of sense.

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03 Dec 2018 21:16 #329962 by Zenchi
Replied by Zenchi on topic Zen Seeing
"So why create an imitation of one? The real thing is so much more fascinating..."

Why do some people make tea drinking Into a ritual? Why does art exist at all? It is the manifestation and dance of the human spirit, whether the act be done simply to experience the "doing" or to display it for others to behold...

I do it to pay the bills, lol...

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03 Dec 2018 21:22 #329963 by Kasumi
Replied by Kasumi on topic Zen Seeing

_Vergere_ wrote: I had a bit of a revelation a few minutes ago that I thought I should share...

Since I was a teenager, I had been a painter, mostly of landscapes and such. I never questioned my ability to paint because I happened to be relatively good at it. Then, about a year ago I was looking at something, a picture or a landscape outside a window, and I wondered, "Why must I recreate on canvas something that already exists in the real world?" So I stopped painting. Since then, people—especially my family—could not comprehend why I would give up on such a skill.

I was reading a book on Zen just minutes ago, and I happened upon this quote by John Donne: "God is so omnipresent... God is an angel in an angel, and a stone in a stone, and a straw in a straw." This helped explain to me why I gave up on painting. To replicate a view imperfectly with paint, a view that already is a part of reality, is like chasing the wind; it's like saying a picture of a tree is a tree, but you only know a tree truly by going outside and looking at one. God is in the tree, God is the tree, and God is a tree in a tree. So why create an imitation of one? The real thing is so much more fascinating.


But isn't God* also in you? And in your painting? (And in the coffee cup, and the dog poop...) Why not express that aspect of God?

Which is not to tell you what to do. You may be currently expressing God by not painting and that's fine too.

*Or the Force, or Buddha-nature. I am normally opposed to universalism because it misses the point that differences can be important, but in this case, I feel like they are pretty equivalent.

+++
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04 Dec 2018 04:37 #329986 by Rex
Replied by Rex on topic Zen Seeing
Art is a form of communication like language. I mean what's the point of language if we can't fully comprehend or express our conception of God with it. Art doesn't have to be mimetic or representing something else's skin deep attributes.
Picasso became famous for painting things that didn't physically look remotely similar to the subject, and Duchamp entered a urinal into an art exhibition to criticise people's similarly convoluted ideas of what visual arts compromise.
You can communicate more than just what our eyes see in a tree, you can communicate God if that's what you perceive. The mark of an excellent artist is similar to an excellent orator: people understand the content in a previously inexpressible way. Your family liked your paintings. Each one of your paintings is that tree or God seen through your eyes in a way words or someone else's paintings don't suffice.
Giving up painting is like voluntarily forgoing written language. It also doesn't seem very Zen nor like something John Donne would approve.

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04 Dec 2018 10:23 - 04 Dec 2018 10:27 #329998 by Twigga
Replied by Twigga on topic Zen Seeing
My godmother painted for me when I was sick and stuck inside. I can pretty safely say that if you really have this talent to capture the outside and bring it inside, and a fund for materials, then your local hospital would love to hear from you - elderly care particularly, as they often lack visitors and brightness. :)

But I do agree with Kasumi, it's also cool not to paint. Nature IS pretty awesome and we can't hope to reproduce it really, other than in maybe giving birth, growing, and making love! :cheer: I just know how rubbish it is to be stuck places with no meaningful access to windows or plants.
Last edit: 04 Dec 2018 10:27 by Twigga.
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04 Dec 2018 17:43 #330033 by Gisteron
Replied by Gisteron on topic Zen Seeing
I'm not much of an artist myself these days, but my impression was always that if one was seeking for ways to justify doing it, then that itself is enoug of one not to. Art is - in my opinion - not about trying to "imitate" anything, for good reason or ill, or altogether without, but about self-expression. If at one point you find yourself wondering why do it, pondering that nature already looks prettier than any image you could render of it, seeking a reason to continue, is that not itself something of a sign? Do art if you want to. But if you don't want to, then just what amount of rationalizing yourself into doing it anway will leave you happy with the process, or the result?

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04 Dec 2018 18:04 #330036 by Kyrin Wyldstar
Replied by Kyrin Wyldstar on topic Zen Seeing

_Vergere_ wrote: To replicate a view imperfectly with paint, a view that already is a part of reality, is like chasing the wind; it's like saying a picture of a tree is a tree, but you only know a tree truly by going outside and looking at one. God is in the tree, God is the tree, and God is a tree in a tree. So why create an imitation of one? The real thing is so much more fascinating.


You have assigned an attribute to the art that it does not possess. The pieces of art we create are not about trying to replicate the primary object or trying to capture deity. Art is not a reflection of any of these things. Art is a reflection of culture. It is a capturing of our innate connection to the objects of focus in the art. They are expressions of the beauty we find in that. Art makes us feel connected to something and it is an expression of the emotion we feel in that. That is an impactful experience that is never soon forgotten. It evokes the imagination and brings about visions of our past and our future as a species in this universe. I hope you would reconsider your position in this because to deny yourself these things is a tragedy.

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04 Dec 2018 21:33 #330051 by Kobos
Replied by Kobos on topic Zen Seeing
I really like Gisteron's reply but I want to put this forward as the way I began looking at art as a whole when I began getting serious about oil painting. ART is the process not the product. A piece of art is whatever we want to assign it's meaning to which is why we get so many interpretations of the same thing. However, again ART in it's truest and most beautiful form is that process of creation.

Just my 2 cents,
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04 Dec 2018 22:53 #330064 by Silvermane
Replied by Silvermane on topic Zen Seeing

Kobos wrote: I really like Gisteron's reply but I want to put this forward as the way I began looking at art as a whole when I began getting serious about oil painting. ART is the process not the product. A piece of art is whatever we want to assign it's meaning to which is why we get so many interpretations of the same thing. However, again ART in it's truest and most beautiful form is that process of creation.

Just my 2 cents,
Much love, respect and peace,
Kobos

I agree with you, Kobos. It’s the process that creates the feeling of connection. I’m not a artist or all that graceful with my Tai Chi but it is the process of doing it that I find a connection to what it is that I am doing. It’s that connection that keeps people doing what they do because it makes them feel complete.

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