Monday, 15 March 2010
There is Something Missing
Slowly but surely the picture that is held in the mind begins to appear on the canvas. We step back, we look again, and we think and contemplate. As the work proceeds we move down the scale of brushes adding finer points here and there just touching it making the final strokes that will bring everything into place. At last we feel it is finished, we can leave it to dry and settle.
Our first thoughts are that it is alright. The trouble is as we look at it a bit further we see something that is just not the way we meant it to be. The painting is put back on the easel and paint made ready to make the adjustments needed. We tinker with it here and we touch it there. Step back and look and think it just needs a little bit more of this colour and a little more of that. At last it is finished. Again it is left to dry and settle. The next day we look again and wish we had left it the way it was in the beginning, but it is now too late. The damage has been done. It looks good but so often not as good as it might have.
There is a story of a young monk preparing the garden of the monastery for a very special event that was to take place that day. Over the wall there lived a wise old sage who watched as the young monk trimmed all the bushes taking great care as he snipped little branches here and there. He combed all the moss on the rocks so that it all lay in the same direction. He raked all the fallen leaves and made beautiful patterns in the gravel. After many hours he stood back to admire his work. He saw the old sage watching and said to him, “Is this not perfection?” “It is beautiful indeed,” said the old sage, “but there is one thing missing. If you lift me over I will show you.” The young monk did just that, he lifted the old sage over the wall. The old sage went over to the tree in the middle of the garden and shook it with vigour, shaking leaves to the ground. “There,” he said, “now it is perfect.”
Sometimes it is better to leave things the way they are, any interference from us only makes things less than it was before we started. To know when to work and when not to work is the way of Tao. There is often more gained by not doing than can be achieved by doing.
The comments about the chosen work of art can be viewed at:- AlongThe Firebreak