Friday, May 14, 2021

Sun and Shadow Produce Serenity

So yesterday it was a beautiful spring evening, warm but not hot, with a blue sky with subtle little clouds. About 45 minutes before sunset we were sitting in the fast food parking lot waiting for our takeout and I happened to look across the street. The gas station there had that industrial plain concrete block look, and a shadow was being cast on part of the concrete canopy above the gas pumps. The sight of the light and shadow, distributed in a simple geometric pattern, caused me to feel a little lifting sensation, and a slight warmth from within. It was the most prosaic scene imaginable but it made me happy to just look at it. I was reminded of a story about Max Ernst; supposedly, when someone asked him what his favorite activity was, he replied "Seeing." Just so.

I think that's what keeps me trying to make pictures of scenes that move me. I want to show other people the beauty of ordinary scenes. Edward Hopper succeeded at doing this like no other artist I've ever seen; everybody knows "The Nighthawks" but his "Sun in an Empty Room" is even more powerful in how it affects me viscerally. This reproduction is from Wikiart Visual Arts Encylopedia at

Looking at it is kind of a meditation, but one I don't get bored and twitchy at like I do with most "conventional" meditation. It puts me in The Zone, a kind of trance-like state that is peaceful and takes me out of myself. I should live so long I could ever do anything this good. I'll keep trying.

1 comment:

  1. reading your blog on sun, shadow and seeing made be begin to feel some of that sensation too. thanks for reminding me of those moments in my own life and giving me the urge to seek them out again.


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