Looking and Seeing on the Painter’s Path

Seeing nothing one sees everything.

Paint less and less until you’re non-painting.
When you’re non-painting there’s nothing
you can’t paint.

Whatever is gathered in
Must first be stretched out
Whatever is weakened
Must first be made strong
Whatever is abandoned
Must first be joined
Whatever is taken away
Must first be given
This is what is called the subtle within what is evident. ––Laozi (36)

Ask yourself: What is obstructing my vision? What is
the difference between seeing and looking?

Painting is like swimming: in both you have to
understand the medium.
Forget yourself like a fish in water forgets itself.

Rid yourself of a closed-view system of painting.
Rigid model of painting = rigid consequences.

Students come to painting in two ways:
as a “looker”: the painting as object
as a “seer”: the painting as process.

No process is privileged. The process (the “doing”) is
non-evaluative, non-cognitive, and non-coercive. It is
the master butcher’s unloosening of the ox.

Accept the myriad transformations a painting will go
through without concern for loss or gain.

Follow the natural inclinations of brush, paint, and
medium. Hold in abeyance “like” and “dislike”.

Each painting has its own unique way of being – which
is natural to the process it undergoes – neither better
nor worse than any other work.

Cultivating spontaneous energy in painting:
what is native (authentic) to you
what naturally draws you deeply into the work.

Understand the resolution of the painting as a coming
together of factors:
having been attentive to the entire creative situation
having had a focus that roamed freely and unobstructed
having had supreme confidence in what you have done
(even though much of the time nothing “works out”).

Think “subtraction aesthetics.”

You will transcend your behavioral (painting)
limitations when you understand the above.

Comments are closed.