Here is the second part of an excerpt from my book Through an Artist’s Eyes: Learning to Live Creatively, to enable you to develop your own inner creativity and apply it to the personal cycle of everyday living.
ART OF CONTEMPLATION, PART II
Settle in like an artist in your studio, as if you were on a remote island or within an impenetrable tower, though you won’t feel alone. Revel in the initial silence. Now you might want to enhance your visual experience by introducing the chords of music.
What type of music should you choose? Perhaps a relaxing, calming composition that will enable you to reflect on the scene before you, a melody created by an expert of reverie. How about Claude Debussy?
Debussy was a French composer who bridged the nineteenth and twentieth centuries not with symphonies but with musical poems that captured states of mind and reflections of nature. “Clair de Lune,” “Clouds,” “La Mer (The Sea),” “Footsteps in the Snow,” and many other pieces. A composition called “Reverie” is particularly moving, creating a sense of timelessness, of eternity, as if enriching your perceptions—colors more intense, light purer, forms magnified, space more concentrated.
Nearby, you might want to keep a book or two on the works of art of the French or American Impressionists as well as the Hudson River School painters, among a multitude of other landscape artists. Peruse the pages and select the images closest to the present moment. Is the light of a sunset about to permeate your studio? Then absorb the spectacular sky of Frederic Church, an American artist who once lived along the Hudson River in the early days of the country’s history. Sunsets were his speciality, often at the peak of coloration, when red dominates the sky, ranging from rose to scarlet, mixed with lavender purples and sapphire blues, transitory visions energized by the final rays of the sun.
Or would you prefer the miracle of a snowfall? Its flakes, white and fresh, descending in a steady rhythm, effortlessly covering the ground. Familiar objects disappearing: a forgotten hose; a park bench; a lilac bush, brown with cold; a pile of debris. Sidewalks and streets suddenly ending in drifts shifting in the wind. Quiet transcends, traffic hushed, a pink glow suffusing the atmosphere. The French Impressionists like Sisley and Monet can help you discover the poetry of winter.
Or think of a spring sunrise, a golden autumn noon, or a less dramatic day or time of year. Even the dullness of gray skies or what might seem the monotonous greens of midsummer can be fascinating. Andrew Wyeth, the famed American artist once spent months focused on capturing the almost colorless hues of snow flurries.
But you are not obligated to pick up a paint brush, unless you are so inspired. Just meditate upon the daily paintings of the window world that only you can create. Not to be displayed like a painting, but to be felt in your heart and your spirit, ultimately becoming part of you.
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