online: 14 may 2007
modified: 14 may 2007

13 may 2007 connective vision

19:02 ...West Heath... south wind... blue sky beyond low-flying clouds moving quite fast... after rain... everything seems as if it has suddenly grown about 50% ... everywhere there are leaves and ferns and grasses shining in the evening sunlight... and moving occasionally in irregular gusts of wind... otherwise they are still

i look upwards and see a large grey cloud replacing the white ones... so i move on, expecting rain...

North End... after crossing a road i re-enter the forest... and yet again i experience the joy, the expected epiphany (or the suddenly connective vision)... of being in, and part of, the forest as a seemingly endless whole... an all-encompassing sight... (similar to that of feeling, before a painting Mark Rothko, as if stressful connections in one's brain are being cut or undone and inner peace can prevail)...

14 may 2007
...i was remembering the first occasion when i saw the abstract expressionist paintings of Rothko and others, and how, if i stood close enough for such paintings to fill my vision, i felt instantly in another world... i find that this can happen at any time when i stand close to a Rothko painting... i believe that this quality (of 'getting beyond' message, or intended meaning) is part of the hidden value of abstract art, and of modernism... perhaps it is a religious experience that can occur if one lets go of concept-formation, as described in accounts of Zen Buddhism, for instance:
To those who have realised the nature of Reality, there is nothing old or new, the conceptions of shallowness and depth are meaningless. Those who speak of it do not attempt to explain it, establish no sects and open no doors or windows. That which is before you is it. Begin to reason about it and you will at once fall into error.
...from P'ei Hsiu's preface toThe Zen Teaching of Huang Po, on the Transmission of Mind, edited and translated by John Blofeld, The Buddhist Society, 58 Eccleston Square, London SW1, reprinted 1971, page 27.

...apparently Mark Rothko was deeply religious... i imagine that other abstract expressionist painters, and most modernists, believed themselves to be unbelievers in organised religions though perhaps they were finding, in material things, that which is beyond, or greater than, our human intentions.

...when i tried to find, in the Wikipedia, illustrations of paintings by Mark Rothko i found a long account of the sadness of his life, ending in alcoholism and suicide... apparently the brightly coloured ones that i remember were indeed meant to be non-figurative, without conscious meaning, and apparently Rothko specified that they should seen at a distance of 18 inches (about 45cm)... however, the pictures i remember were preceded and followed by others, in sombre colours and in more meaningful forms, which were intended to be both tragic and mythical... i didn't like them very much...

...the Wikipedia article mentions that, when he was visited Europe late in life, he was impressed by the deeply religious frescoes of Fra Angelico in San Marco, Florence.

(these pages are designed to be read with the window set to two-thirds of the screen width)

what's new



daffodil email newsletter

© 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 john chris jones

You may transmit this text to anyone for any non-commercial purpose if you include the copyright line and this notice and if you respect the copyright of quotations.

If you wish to reproduce any of this text commercially please send a copyright permission request to jcj at