I keep a copy of Henry David Thoreau's Journals out on the living room table, where I can easily dip into it every few days. I like to see what he was doing and thinking at this same time of year; looking through July entries, I found the following from July 2, 1857:
Many an object is not seen, though it falls within the range of our visual ray, because it does not come within the range of our intellectual ray, i.e., we are not looking for it. So, in the largest sense, we find only the world we look for.This entry resonated strongly with me; Thoreau expresses with his usual clarity and depth an idea that I believe is very important in art making, and in simply living in the complex and rich present. I did not see lichen until I began to carry my camera into the woods to photograph for this blog; I did not see mosses, or many mushrooms, or the varied details of flowers. In searching for images for painting, I have noticed shapes, colors and relationships that I had previously overlooked, helped by my work with rug hooking; the abstraction of the ruglets encouraged me to find similar forms in my preferred subjects of farm machinery:
We each seek a different world, and find a different place within it. Artists can point us to new ways of seeing, as Thoreau does with his writing, Matisse with color and light, Bach with sound. I believe it is important to be ever open to new images and new thoughts, so that the world we see is always enlarging and becoming more profound. I would hope that one of the messages of my work––with paint, wool, or on this blog––is 'pay attention'.