Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Magic Eye

A little while back, I went to hear Sarah Susanka give a talk at Colorado State. She's doing a tour for her latest book, The Not So Big Life. There were big postcards being handed out to each attendee with the above "Magic Eye" image, and it was fun to stare at it as we waited for the talk to begin.

You've seen these images. You unfocus your eyes and they become three-dimensional. What at first seems like a clutter of random colors & shapes turns into something else entirely. The one shown here becomes quite spacious, and, instead of feeling overcrowded, you feel like you have plenty of room to see or navigate through what must be close to two hundred beautiful little balls.

I guess her point was that if you look at things differently, your crowded and hectic life actually offers you plenty of space to breath, observe, choose and enjoy. She talked about her practice of meditation, comparing it to walking along a sidewalk with lots of pedestrian traffic. Just as you don't bump into everyone who's coming toward you, you don't have to identify with every thought that comes into your mind. Then, as we learn to sort our way through the jumble-filled ego, space is created, the atmosphere changes, qualities can come into focus.

Maybe this is what we're looking for when we go choose just a few things and make a composition. Of course, when we go painting, we're looking at a 3-D scene and changing it into 2-D. Maybe that's why what seems like a good idea in the beginning starts to look too busy or uncomfortable somehow. Looking at the scene in a different way, so that you don't try to capture it all, can create space.

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