Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Alchemy of Art

It's so fine and yet so terrible to stand in front of a blank canvas.
-- Paul Cezanne 

I've been thinking recently about the blank canvas, the blank page, the untouched lump of clay.  In a roundabout way it reminds me of Rene Magritte's "N'est pas une pipe."  It would be easy to look at all the different permutations of a blank canvas and say ...

this is not a painting,
this is not a novel,
this is not a song,
this is not a sculpture,
this is not a building,

This is nothing.  

Yet it is the beginning of everything.  Everything forms and comes forth through this stark nothingness, this blank slate of pure potential.  There is a moment of alchemy when that open field of possibility connects with the dark matter within us ... the thoughts, feelings, insights, knowingness that we may not even aware of ... and suddenly becomes something.  Whether or not that something is useful or worthwhile is beside the point, that instant of connection is pure gold.

The lovely part of all of this is that it is given to each one of us.  We all have our blank canvas.  Every day is a clean slate waiting for what we will make of it.  Every moment a potential connection between potential and something new.  What a gift!


  1. Your comment about the blank slate really sang to me. The fact that the blank is full of potential...and that what it becomes is not important, but that the creation of whatever that is, is "gold." Wow...powerful on so many levels... including personal development, growth, etc....or for me, just validation of all the time I spend making quilts. I've always known that the "making of the quilts" felt right, but also thought that the end product needed to be more useful. Thank you for this truly mind altering idea!! I will look at my quilts as my own reservoir of "gold." Judy S.

  2. Judy ... I'm delighted that this spoke to you! You have so much gold to share and explore. hugs!