Tuesday, September 30, 2008


"The wide open expanse of the view,
The true condition of mind,
Is like the sky, like space:
Without center, without edge, without goal."
-- Shabkar Rinpoche

I think a lot about infinity when I work. Dark into light, light into dark, endless imperceptible shifts. Repeating the brushstroke, each an incremental unit organized into a grid, repetition becomes a way of creating an implied infinity. The brushstrokes become smaller and smaller until the grid melts away and all that's left is an ethereal cloud of color, shadows and light. The finite and the infinite coexist.

In meditation, this is the practice of letting go into the infinite expanse beyond the mind. Lama Surya Das describes the process:
Breathing in, breathing out -- rhythmic, like the waves of the sea. We are releasing, settling down and learning how to just be. Let things settle on their own, in their own time, their own way, their own place. Wherever things fall and land, let them fall into place as they will, without intervention, without artifice. Learn to let things come and go; learn to just be. This is a huge step, an incandescent lesson.
I try to enter that same spaciousness when I paint. I try to walk that egoless path, so that my painting can become something of its own being, the brushstrokes falling into place as they will. Of course, there is no painting without the mind attempting to control things, so it is a constant balancing act between these two conditions of consciousness. But I believe the more I let go and let the painting find its way into being, the more successful the painting is, and the better it can communicate to the viewer from an archetypal, universal perspective. This is my hope each time I begin a painting, and each time I finish one.

(The above quotes are taken from Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be, by Lama Surya Das, page 97.)


Dianne McNaughton said...

Dear Diane,
I find your writing inspirational! I am working on three pieces at the moment, they are all abstract in form, just allowing the brush and paint to speak to me. I have a battle with the control aspect, I am going to block out that little voice for as long as possible. You have really expressed the process in words so beautifully! Love Dianne

Anonymous said...

Dear Diane
I found your blogspot from dianne mcnaughton's link. I love poetry and when I saw this quote after posting my painting on my blog, I felt it was a kind of karma for me, because I had been feeling very down about what I was trying to achieve recently. But painting for me is a form of meditation, especially when I've been trying so hard to achieve a figurative image and its not working. The book looks interesting. Thanks Diane.

Yelena said...

Well said.