Reflecting Like a Clear Mirror: Seeing/Drawing Practice
A reflection on practice by Marcia Rose
We do a lot of looking…at our computer, i-Phone, television, through lenses, at people, books and at ‘nature’. Our looking is perfected every day, but how often do we see?
Seeing/Drawing is a way of getting into intimate touch with the visible world around us, and through it…with ourselves. It’s a very straightforward uncomplicated process. The ‘practice’ is to receive what is seen without interposing our ‘self’. We spend time seeing/drawing the simplest, most commonplace things of nature, the things that we have ‘looked at’ all our lives and things that we may have eaten all of our lives but have never really seen; an orange, a scallion, ginger, peppers whole and cut open, leaves, rocks, tree bark, flowers, roots and faces.
Can the mind, the eye and the heart simply reflect like a clear mirror, with no concept? From this will spring the ability to contact things directly and positively, letting the hand (and pencil) follow what the eye sees…not ‘making’ a picture, not ‘being’ creative. We are engaging in the practice of contemplative awareness in relationship to a world that is fully alive. We’re no longer ignoring the beauty and intricacies of the multitude of simple things that constitute life…the convoluted network of the veins of a leaf and its wondrous undulations, the strength, intensity and delicacy of the branches that make a bush, the voluptuous curve of a red pepper, the unimaginable depth of form in a walnut or the unique lines, hills and valleys of the human foot.
When the eye and heart wake up to see again, we suddenly stop taking things for granted. The thing that we draw is no longer a ‘thing’, no longer an object…no longer MY object and I am no longer the overbearing subject who objectifies things. Something else happens or has the potential to happen. The split is healed.
Whatever we are truly seeing and drawing, we are saying ‘yes’ to its existence. We dignify it, declare it worthy of our total attention, simply because we and it are here in the midst of this awesome mystery and miracle that we and all of it share. We begin to take delight, a pure delight in seeing…the light over the mountains in the late afternoon, the carrots and peaches in the market, the people everywhere all around us. Our eye and heart are ‘in love’. And as one artist said, “I had to celebrate this love and so…I draw.”
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