*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
India presents to the visitor an overwhelmingly visual impression. It is beautiful, colorful, sensuous. It is captivating and intriguing, repugnant and puzzling. It combines the intimacy and familiarity of English four o’clock tea with the dazzling foreignness of carpisoned elephants or vast crowds bathing in the Ganga during an eclipse. India’s display of multi-armed images, it’s processions and pilgrimages, it’s beggars and kings, it’s street life and markets, it’s diversity of peoples – all appear to the eye in a kaleidoscope of images. Much that is removed from public view in the modern West and taken into the privacy of rest homes, asylums, and institutions is open and visible in the life of an Indian city or village. The elderly, the infirm, the dead awaiting cremation – these sights, while they may have been expunged from the childhood palace of the Buddha, are not isolated from the public eye in India. Rather, they are present daily in the visible world in which Hindus, and those who visit India, move in the course of ordinary activities. In India, one sees everything. One sees people at work and at prayer; one sees plump, well-endowed merchants, simple renouncers, fraudulent “holy” men, frail widows, and emaciated lepers; one sees the festival procession, the marriage procession, and the funeral procession. Whatever Hindus affirm of the meaning of life, death, and suffering, they affirm with their eyes wide open.
Diana L. Eck in Darsan: Seeing the Diving Image in India
Comments are welcome!
Q: You recently spent several weeks in Sri Lanka. After experiencing so many new sights and sounds, is it difficult to get back to work in your studio?
A: It definitely requires some readjustment and a period – maybe a day or two – during which I feel removed from the painting on my easel and need time to become reacquainted with it. It’s a time to refocus, stay put, and reflect. For weeks I’ve led an action-packed life, exploring a fascinating country on the other side of the world. Over time, all of the experiences I’ve had will stay with me, or not, and in some ways begin to influence my work.
It’s funny. I often think of my studio as a cave. It’s a rather dark place and sometimes I have to force myself to go. In Sri Lanka I saw many ancient Buddhist cave temples, wild and vibrant, with colorful paintings on the walls and ceilings, chock full of statues of Buddha and other deities. My travels have given me a new appreciation of the riches to be found in caves of all sorts, including (especially) my own studio!
Comments are welcome!