Seeing What Is/What Is Not/There

Recently, on looking at my teabowl named Tsunami, a friend asked what I was seeing. He had difficulty in seeing what I described seeing, so, on black and white photos of the teabowl, I drew in more detail to visually describe what I saw when looking closely at the imagery on the bowl. Of course, the imagery is vague, semi-abstract, or perhaps semi-representational, and incomplete. It is difficult to see what another person is seeing. For me, the point in making this type of work, rather than strictly representational work, is to allow each viewer to input some of herself/himself into the work. To complete the work in their own way, with their own life history, their own experiences, being stimulated by what they perceive when looking. So normally, I leave it to the viewer to see what they will, to gravitate toward their own thoughts and images. However, I am happy to answer when asked any question that might help another appreciate what they might not without a little input. So, in this case, for this friend who is very knowledgeable and perceptive about such things, I went further than I ever have in this attempt at describing what I see in a particular instance. As is often the case when one steps out of their usual boundaries, I learned much from this experience.                  Watson Chawan Tsunami 1

When the drawings on the bowl failed to bring my friend closer to seeing what I was describing, now visually as well as with words, I decided to go even further. I work in various media, clay, glass, paint mostly, and the differences are interesting. Especially the difference between working on a flat surface with defined borders, as in painting on canvas, and working on a round surface such as a tea bowl. With the round bowl, turning in your hand or moving around it, you create new views, views without the same border restrictions as canvas. Continuation of scenes, new scenes, present themselves in ways not possible on a canvas where the edges signal the end of the scene. So, I thought to bring to canvas, in a way only slightly similar to the bowl, a series of scenes by doing a set of 5 canvases, scenes from around the bowl, so that each painting would be a continuation, a sort of movement from one to another. These would be done in a way more representational to make even clearer what I was seeing and thinking, but hopefully with still enough space for the viewer to add something of their own.

The painting is done with movement, intensity, mood, and more than a bit of darkness and garishness (or perhaps crudeness might be a better word) to echo my feelings. The first of this set is entitled “American Tsunami”, and it is featured in my previous blog of the same title, with an explanation of the painting.   It is the view of the bowl focused on here.  But look for yourself, and have some fun with this. Look at the photo of the bowl and see what develops in your own mind, see where it takes you, how you develop and finish the bowl. See how it differs from what I see, and see if my showing what I see then limits, or helps with,what you can see. Does my bringing it further along give it edges, does it restrict your wandering, or does it help. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.     Drawing on Watson Chawan Tsunami

The first photo of the bowl shows the actual bowl, the second photo shows a black and white image of the bowl, the same view (same side), but on this second photo I have drawn in some detail to make the picture more complete. The photo of the painting is the same view as these two photos of the bowl, but developed as a more complete picture, a finished painting, done in a way to still allow, I hope, interpretation and new discoveries with each new look. The painting is done on an 18” by 36” canvas, a long rectangular view to add to the effect of continuation as on the bowl. The other 4 paintings are under way but far from finished, so not shown. I have also shown only one view of the bowl to focus on this one area that the painting mimics. I like many styles of work, but do gravitate toward expressionist or semi abstract work, work that shows what cannot be seen in normal circumstances and with more vibrancy and intensity, more of the essence than the image .  Let me know if you think this works in this case, and if you think an explanation of the work helps or hurts.  I value any input.  I hope you enjoy these images, they can be enlarged by clicking on them (then your back arrow to return here).       

Thank You, George Watson                 American Tsunami  george watson