Walking into Paintings

Walking into Paintings

Last week, I showed Moonlight how to walk into paintings.

It’s such a simple detachment once someone shows you how. When you’re inside you can reach out to anyone looking at the work. You can reach them and speak to them. They won’t hear you with their senses but they will get your message. You can do that because works of art create their own psychic space, no more or less real than any other space. Some paintings do it better than others. For excursions, I don’t think that I’d recommend The Scream. Not to Moon anyway.

You immerse yourself in the landscape, in the world of the painting, in its sounds, in its life.

Moonlight learned where I go when I crave peace. I took her hand. We opened a book and stepped into a Monet. Dressed in white cotton. We wore straw hats tied with silk scarves. We carried parasols with Oriental patterns on them. In high-button shoes. We stepped softly through an infinite Monet. We crossed a footbridge. We paused to languidly gaze at waterlilies. We watched the fishing boats go out at sunrise. The light played through radiant clouds on haystacks and sparkling cathedrals. How wonderfully it changed throughout the day. We floated on the clouds reflected in lily ponds. We were pink and blue reflections on ripples of water.

We laughed. Moonlight was radiant with joy. I showed her that the place she often saw in her visions was real. It was tactile. It was aural. We felt the breezes and we became breezes. We felt the dew. We became the sparkling droplets on dark green leaves. We felt the warmth of the sun. We became pure lights. We radiated warmth. We gave life to flowers. To the pond. To each other. All of it was real. We wore long dresses of white cotton. We were flowers of every possible color. We held hands. We carried parasols. We flew kites. We walked across the meadow. In white cotton. In high button shoes. With silk scarves. We danced. We laughed. I shared the secret of the Muses with Moonlight. With love.

Moon Light in Starry Night

Moon rearranged some stars but when we left, we tidied up

Last night we walked into Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Moon rearranged some stars but when we left, we tidied up. Everything was just as we found it.

Floating on music is another acquired skill. I wanted to show Moon how to float on Baroque music. On Enya’s music. On Sarah McLachlan’s music. On Loreena McKennitt’s music. Finally, I believe that some humans may be capable of Soul Ballooning. Back home Soul Ballooning is a team sport.

Let the viewer stroll around within the picture, to force him to forget himself and so to become a part of the picture. (Vassily Kandinsky)

When you start a painting, it is somewhat outside you. At the conclusion you seem to move inside the painting. (Fernando Botero)


An Afternoon With Monet

In the writings of the Baha’i Faith we read: “I rejoice to hear that thou takest pains with thine art, for in this wonderful new age, art is worship. The more thou strivest to perfect it, the closer wilt thou come to God. What bestowal could be greater than this, that one’s art should be even as the act of worshipping the Lord? That is to say, when thy fingers grasp the paint brush, it is as if thou wert at prayer in the Temple.” (‘Abdu’l-Baha)

How often have you seen a contemporary soft-focused photograph that was designated as “impressionist” by the photographer or a magazine editor? So-called impressionist photography is a recurring theme in mass market magazines. Does blurring a photograph by using a diffusion or fog effects filter make it impressionist or is it just kitsch?
kitsch n. “Sentimentality or vulgar, often pretentious bad taste, especially in the arts.”

From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impressionism comes a definition we can work with plus a bit of history. Renoir, Degas, and Monet did not use soft focus filters. Degas was an avid photographer.

The rise of the impressionist movement can be seen in part as a reaction by artists to the newly established medium of photography. The taking of fixed or still images challenged painters by providing a new medium with which to capture reality. Initially photography’s presence seemed to undermine the artist’s depiction of nature and their ability to mirror reality. Both portrait and landscape paintings were deemed somewhat deficient and lacking in truth as photography “produced lifelike images much more efficiently and reliably”. (wikipedia)

In spite of this, photography – actually inspired artists to pursue other means of artistic expression, and rather than competing with photography to emulate reality, artists focused “on the one thing they could inevitably do better than the photograph – by further developing into an art form its very subjectivity in the conception of the image, the very subjectivity that photography eliminated”. The Impressionists sought to express their perceptions of nature, rather than create exacting reflections or mirror images of the world. This allowed artists to subjectively depict what they saw with their “tacit imperatives of taste and conscience”. Photography encouraged painters to exploit aspects of the painting medium, like colour, which photography then lacked; “the Impressionists were the first to consciously offer a subjective alternative to the photograph”. (wikipedia)

The main influences on my art are Monet and Kandinsky. That may seem difficult to reconcile but it works for me. For an example see “Near the Edge of the Kingdom.” and “Flowers On The Sun.”

A sunrise by Claude Monet, 1872
Soleil Levant 1872


“My only desire is an intimate infusion with nature, and the only fate I wish is to have worked and lived in harmony with her laws.” – Claude Monet

A greatly enlarged detail from one of my photographs. This image was not manipulated in Photoshop in any way except to selectively modify large areas of color. This is the texture of the original 35 mm slide after some darkroom manipulations during development.

Greatly enlarged detail

Greatly enlarged detail

These images are part of a series I made called Afternoon With Monet In My Head. Like most of my images the sun was directly behind the birds which accounts for their luminosity.
Image (C)Copyright by Cary Enoch Reinstein

Image (C)Copyright by Cary Enoch Reinstein

Art distills sensations and embodies it with enhanced meaning. — Jacques Barzun

Here are a few quotations about art and artists from the Baha’i writings:

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