Thursday, March 14, 2013

Let There Be Light!

Sometimes it feels as though life is one long series of adjustments. Some major, some barely perceptible. 

I've been having trouble waking up early since Sunday morning. Still, I'm always thrilled at the change to longer days. Just as the time change takes some adjustment, our eyes need time to adjust to changes in light, our minds need time to adjust to new concepts and realizations.

We talk a lot about light (and darkness) in my Online Drawing and Watercolor Courses. We also make considerable adjustments in short order. For me, the most exciting teaching moments are those when students suddenly get it. When the veil of confusion is ripped away and they see something they are looking at as if for the first time. Enlightenment.

These moments or realization usually happen during drawing exercises when I help students train their eyes to see what they are looking at rather than what they think they are looking at. It's why I recommend drawing before watercolor or any other sort of painting.

Drawing is the through line, the figured bass. The practice of drawing brings enlightenment. Trying to paint without any foundation in drawing leaves you fumbling in the dark.

Once we have seen something, we cannot unsee it. As we learn to more clearly see the world around us, we learn to better understand ourselves.
"I shall no longer be instructed by the Yoga Veda or the Aharva Veda, or the ascetics, or any other doctrine whatsoever. I shall learn from myself, be a pupil of myself; I shall get to know myself, the mystery of Siddhartha." He looked around as if he were seeing the world for the first time."
—Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha
Speaking of light and enlightenment, a personal favorite is Que la lumière soit! Click there and here to watch a few clips from Arthur Joffe's 1998 rare and joyful film, Let There Be Light! God writes a screenplay and seeks a director. I enjoyed every moment of this film in the theater when it was first released but, alas, have never again been able to watch in its entirety. If you ever have the chance, take it!

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