Learning by heart

Art does not reproduce the visible, but makes visible that which is not easily seen.

— Kimon Nikolaides


I’m reading Corita Kent’s: Learning By Heart

and today her teaching made me think of Yoko Ono.

from Grapefruit an artist’s book written by Yoko Ono, originally published in 1964.


From Learning by Heart:

… when we give names to things, we often assume that everything that goes by that name is alike …

to unlearn this bad habit, she gives us the following assignment:

Take something in nature–two dandelions–and look at them for five minutes, listing how they are different from each other. Take two leaves from the same tree and do the same thing. Take two peas from the same pod and do the same thing.

Nothing is the same.

No thing is the same.

Everything is itself and one of a kind.

After doing this for a week, look back at these pairs of things again and make a new list. You will find more differences because you have been exercising your powers of observation.

Genius is looking at things in an unhabitual way. Work in areas where you are unsure, in places you’ve not been before.

One Comment Add yours

  1. bluebrightly says:

    Looking at things in an unhabitaul way – yes! I like this exercise because I think about naming a lot. I love learning the names of plants, but I try to keep in mind the inherent danger, or maybe I should say the limitations, of naming. They are all being with us, the plants, and are as different as you and I, as night and day. Which is not to say they are “other.” 🙂

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