“One night [ca. 1920] I was in my studio drawing my own portrait. On the ceiling, a light. All of a sudden I thought: suppose I were a fly. I could fly on to the easel, fly around me, go for a walk on my back, go up to the wall, etc…. In this closed space I projected the path taken by the fly: no more frame, no more Renaissance.”
“The old Chinese used to say: ‘It is better to feel a painting than to look at it.’ So much today is only to look at. It is one thing to paint a picture and another to experience it: in attempting to find on what level one accepts this experience, one discovers what one sees and on what level the discovery takes place. Christopher Columbus left in search of one world and discovered another.”
“‘Let nature take over in your work.’ These words from my old friend Takizaki were at first confusing but cleared to the idea – ‘Get out of the way.’ We hear some artists speak today of the act of painting. This in its best sense could include the meaning of my old friend. But a State of Mind is the first preparation and from there this action proceeds. Peace of Mind is another ideal, perhaps the ideal state to be sought for in the painting and certainly preparatory to the act.
OBERVATION: Mark Tobey (December 11, 1890 – April 24, 1976), can be defined as a genuine artist, one worthy of the name, who saw the known and the unknown, who held insight into the abstract world of the unconscious, being able to define and make real glimpses into the world of human capability. All of us benefit from individuals like Mark Tobey, in that he, and others like him leave a legacy of ideas, thoughts, and actions that open our minds to new vistas.
Ernesto Cardenal, The Origin of Species and Other Poems,
ISBN 0896726894 Publisher: Texas Tech Press, U.S., 2011
THE ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES (Excerpt)
That all life on earth
should come from a single cell:
the great mystery
Everyone from a single ancestor
a universe still creating itself
one like a cow entered the sea
and became the whale
Fish or mammal?
Or mammal and fish
To Linnaeus a mammal
with a heart and lungs
and eyelashes that move
but with aquatic habits
By adapting to the environment
fins of fish develop
into paws of invertebrates
why is one a parrot
and another a tiger
once there were no brains
now there are billions
there was no leaf
now everything is green
From a single cell
trees animals you
we are all a modification of another
the bird wing was dinosaur’s paw ………….
OBSERVATION: How do we define the poet? The true poet lives, linked to the world, to life, to being human. Those poets who leave an indelible mark on the history of human thought offer us a glimpse into what is possible, what is truly possible when the human organism functions at its peak potential. Find this book, read it, ponder it, absorb it, learn from it!
G. Polya, “How to Solve It“, 2nd ed.,
Princeton University Press, 1957, ISBN 0-691-08097-6.
1 UNDERSTANDING THE PROBLEM
You have to understand the problem. What is the unknown? What are the data? What is the condition? Is it possible to satisfy the condition? Is the condition sufficient to determine the unknown? Or is it insufficient? Or redundant? Or contradictory? Draw a figure. Introduce suitable notation. Separate the various parts of the condition. Can you write them down?
2 DEVISING A PLAN
Find the connection between the data and the unknown. You may be obliged to consider auxiliary problems if an immediate connection cannot be found. You should obtain eventually a plan of the solution. Have you seen it before? Or have you seen the same problem in a slightly different form? Do you know a related problem? Do you know a theorem that could be useful? Look at the unknown! And try to think of a familiar problem having the same or a similar unknown. Here is a problem related to yours and solved before. Could you use it? Could you use its result? Could you use its method? Should you introduce some auxiliary element in order to make its use possible? Could you restate the problem? Could you restate it still differently? Go back to definitions. If you cannot solve the proposed problem try to solve first some related problem. Could you imagine a more accessible related problem? A more general problem? A more special problem? An analogous problem? Could you solve a part of the problem? Keep only a part of the condition, drop the other part; how far is the unknown then determined, how can it vary? Could you derive something useful from the data? Could you think of other data appropriate to determine the unknown? Could you change the unknown or data, or both if necessary, so that the new unknown and the new data are nearer to each other? Did you use all the data? Did you use the whole condition? Have you taken into account all essential notions involved in the problem?
3 CARRYING OUT THE PLAN
Carry out your plan. Carrying out your plan of the solution, check each step. Can you see clearly that the step is correct? Can you prove that it is correct?
4 LOOKING BACK
Examine the solution obtained. Can you check the result? Can you check the argument? Can you derive the solution differently? Can you see it at a glance? Can you use the result, or the method, for some other problem?
Another way of summarising the ideas in George Polya’s book “How to solve it”:
SEE , PLAN , DO , CHECK
Understand the Problem – (SEE)
Carefully read the problem.
Decide what you are trying to do.
Identify the important data.
Devise a plan – (PLAN)
Gather together all available information.
Consider some possible actions:
look for a pattern;
draw a sketch;
make an organised list;
simplify the problem;
quess and check;
make a table;
write a number sentence;
act out the problem;
identify a sub-task; and
check the validity of given information.
Carry out the plan – (DO)
Implement a particular plan of attack.
Revise and modify the plan as needed.
Create a new plan if necessary.
Check the answer – (CHECK)
Ensure you have used all the important information.
Decide whether or not the answer makes sense.
Check that all of the given conditions of the problem are met by the answer.
Put your answer in a complete sentence.
OBSERVATION: POLYA’S ideas about problem solving show a sequence of form, allowing one to observe, enhance, and define problems through the use of series, or progression. Do art, science, and mathematics have common ground for investigation? Is there a similarity between these three seemingly disparate fields of study? Posing a problem, recognizing its parameters, observing it, and ultimately solving it are essential to the function of curiosity and investigation, and are central to the process of creativity. HEURISTICS: involving or serving as an aid to learning, discovery, or problem-solving by experimental and especially trial-and-error methods, also: of or relating to exploratory problem-solving techniques that utilize self-educating techniques (as the evaluation of feedback) to improve performance such as a heuristic computer program.
OBSERVATION: Wharton Esherick was that rare human being who lived beyond the restraints most of us experience. Throughout his life he pushed the envelope in woodworking, leaving a legacy of form and ideas that are the evidence of true mastery of applied sculpture.
Humans have extraordinary capacity for abstract reasoning. Through the years they have developed religious awareness, spiritual life, and assorted elements of mythological, and metaphysical belief. Additionally, the ability to appreciate aesthetic, moral, and ethical behavior have become part of the human psyche. Through self-conscious discipline humans have been able to harness the will. While it is easy to recognize the genius involved in all of these capabilities, humans also function without conscience, building horror upon horror in the lives of others, and in the natural world.
In aesthetics, artists delve into the mysteries of the human capacity for imagination, intuition, expression; a world of the yet unknown. This is the place where art bridges the instinctual with the conscious. At the instinctual level, the human mind invokes, reacts, and processes ideas in an immediate (pre-conscious) way. Prior to the mechanism of conscious intervention, the instinctual creative mind brings to the surface ideas, organizing thoughts from the many regions of the mind, the intellect, the emotions. These processes of inspiration, intuition, instinct, and imagination, all contribute to the ability to foresee that which is intangible. In bringing forth ideas from these complex regions of the mind and brain, the artist transforms idea into a fashioned, constructed manifestation (the form). The medium takes on the characteristics of that original thought, allowing material to act as a cohesive device, a kind of matrix holding ideas in place.
Aesthetic encounter takes the art further, when a viewer, or participant interacts with the concept using powers of perception to draw the idea into the self, merging mind with mind. As the perceptual mechanism absorbs data, feeding the information to the higher functions of the brain, a new impression forms in the viewers mind, perhaps, nearly identical with the original moment of creation, perhaps different, but at the very least becoming a tool, an experience for new and uncharted mental ideation. Art is the catalyst, the enzyme triggering a cascade of secondary responses in the viewer’s mind. Perhaps this is the greatest function of art, where the mind of the viewer takes on new characteristics, new capacity to learn, understand, and feel, becoming immersed in the aesthetic experience.
Each viewer enters this action of aesthetic encounter with unique criteria; perceiving, processing, and making new the art put in place by the artist. Here we find the power of communication evident in the language of art; the tangible, the unknown, beauty, horror, complexity.