Sunday, 7 March 2010
I had a friend who enjoyed woodworking. He had a shed with a lathe where he made beautiful wooden bowls and lamp stands. Before beginning he would sharpen all his tools to a keen edge and lay them out on his bench in the order he would use them. (He was like the surgeon preparing to perform an operation.) The wood was then made ready various types bonded together and left until it had dried and would not separate in the process. Then the turning began and the finished article was always a thing of beauty. It felt tactile to the touch it had the aroma of the many woods used. Sadly I remember, somebody saying, “All that work and time, they can make them just like that in plastic for less than half the cost.”
We live in an age of instant and now. Why waste all this time when we can do things easier and faster? Why take the time to make a mortise and tenon joint when we can nail it together and put a cheap metal clamp on it?
I ponder the ancient art of wall painting that has lasted for centuries and it still makes me feel an inner joy today. I wonder if they just came into the cave and threw some colours at the wall. I suspect not, I suspect they ground the rocks to make the colours with great care. Mixed them carefully and with thought and time prepared themselves to decorate the walls for all to see and enjoy. The time taken has stood the test and is still there for all to marvel.
How many artistic creations have been spoiled because the initial preparation was hurried? The canvas unprepared the drying times ignored. One artist said to me, “I never bother with all that gesso and stuff. I just want to get on with the painting. None of that stuff is ever seen.” But of course it will be seen. It will be seen in the finished work. It will not stand the test of time and it will lack the hidden depth and strength. It is on good foundations that the best buildings are erected.
And so with life, without foundations and preparation we will fail. To make ready is the first step of Tao.
he Story Behind the Art can be seen at:- http://ralph-theartofataoist.blogspot.com/