It’s all about the path

This is from the last pages of Frederick Franck’s The Zen of Seeing: Seeing/Drawing as Meditation (1973). It’s valid for me … maybe it speaks to you too?

I want to say something about what I discovered to be valid for me, even though I am not sure it is valid for everyone. It concerns photography and painting, both of which I abandoned when in SEEING/DRAWING (- in which the seeing and the drawing fuse into one undivided act, in which eye and hand, body and soul are no longer split) I found an art more urgent than art itself.

I had painted and exhibited for years. I folded up my easel, closed my paintbox, when I discovered that it was not really my aim to add to the world’s stock of art images, discovered that what I really wanted was to truly SEE before I die. And so I started to draw as if my life depended on it.

It very probably did – and does.


Hasegawa 2

Pine Trees by Hasegawa Tohaku (1539-1610)

Hasegawa’s masterpiece The Pine Trees represents the pinnacle of Japanese ink painting. The monochrome features pine trees depicted in the foreground, with snow-capped mountain in the back. What appears like a graffiti of a mass of black lines at first glance will look like pine needles from a distance. And even from a farther place, a pine grove emerges. With just a minimum process, the artist successfully brought out the greatest possible effects and even a misty veil.

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