A Book of Seeing

Eye, Hand, Mind

“Hark! Listen to the song of the bird, the wind in the trees, the ocean’s roar. Look at a tree, a falling leaf, a flower as if for the first time. You might suddenly make contact with Reality, with that Paradise from which we, having fallen from childhood, are excluded by our knowledge.”
       Anthony de Mello (1998)

We live in a world of signs and symbols: a world reduced to ideas, to the brain. Our capacity for knowledge is so much greater and that knowledge begins with looking which, with time and patience and humility, may lead to seeing.

My first computer had a tiny black and white screen upon which I was thrilled to be able to create blocky images – adding squares like tiles to create basic images of the human vocabulary of girls, boys, houses, cows, cats and dogs: trucks with square wheels. Now I have a glorious 22-inch colour screen that can reproduce millions of saturated colours – a palette far beyond anything I can paint. Yet, it remains flat and constant and one of the characteristics of light is movement as Monet taught us. A stain glass window is projected colour like a screen, but the projected luminosity of a screen is constant whereas the glass takes on a life unique to the condition of season, time of day and weather. And all this is related to time: our perception of it and our immersion in it. Ironically Monet’s depiction of transience required a stillness of observation; a detachment from, and an absorption in, time which photographs cannot achieve.

Another characteristic is the physicality of material: texture and quality of surface. The red of a rose is not, and cannot be, the red of a poppy or a tulip because the quality of the surface of the petals is unique to each.

Original Ideas, words and Images