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The whole life lies in the verb seeing. (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin)

I plan to delve into the subject I mentioned in my last post – Color and Perception – by grappling with the matter of creating art that benefits from the optical “effects” derived from color combinations.  I will begin this process in my next post.

In this post, I would like to draw upon some of my reading from Teilhard de Chardin and reconnect with the overarching themes I have addressed earlier while creating the 8 panel composition within the Wheel with a Wheel series.


Wheel within a Wheel 101-109, Watercolor/Gouache on Panel, 60 in x 88 in, 2015

I will take a poetic leap here and connect the concept of “seeing” to include all forms of creativity – especially in this instance, an artist’s aim to bring into being something that had not been perceived prior to the artwork’s creation.


The Blank Canvas of the 8 Panels

This particular point, the unfolding of perception and the creative process as a journey and crossing takes on the language of color as poetic imagery and wording in Teilhard de Chardin’s mystical writings – it is “beyond” the “familiar” to a “threshold of another universe” with “coloursin full growth.”  In this vision, we are partners in a creative pursuit.

The truth is, indeed, that love is the threshold of another universe. Beyond the vibrations with which we are familiar, the rainbow-like range of its colours is still in full growth. Teilhard de Chardin, Toward the Future

Before I plunge into my analysis of perception as a form of seeing alongside creativity through the use of my own artwork, as a basis of study, I think it important to go back to the first statement I quoted from Teilhard de Chardin’s concerning how “seeing” creates what is known and can be.  Here is an arrangement of a collection of intermediate design steps in the making of the 8 panel composition –  it serves as a visual example of this process at work.


What Teilhard de Chardin considers is the life long process that is ongoing as seeing – perception does present an inner struggle.

How can it be that ‘when I come down from the mountain’ and in spite of the glorious vision I still remain, I find that I am so little better a person, so little at peace, so incapable of expressing in my actions, and thus adequately communicating to others, the wonderful unity that I feel encompassing me?”

An answer to this question found in Chardin’s writings, would connect this matter of seeing with being and with faith.  I would like to offer my own intuition here and consider that for the artist to create what is to be perceived through an art-form is itself an act of creative trust in the process – faith.

For myself, I have found that my art suffers when I allow myself to doubt or to reject the process that a creative journey calls for – Basically, I have to allow for what has not been to be, while building, until it reaches fruition.

I begin to think that most of our weaknesses are due to the fact that our ‘belief’ is to narrow, and that we don’t believe enough to the end. To stop believing a second too soon, or not to believe enough, is sufficient to ruin the whole structure we are building.” Teilhard de Chardin

Both at the point of the insight-the creative spark and/or the “glorious vision” and following through the composition’s building process, to be creative is to embark on a journey of discovery – making art then becomes an act of faith.