Tag Archives: beauty

Creating Encounter in Colour: Ocean

seascape dec 17 smallseascape dec 17 small

Just as the ocean cries out in glorious Technicolour that she is not only blue, not only green, so I shout out to the world that cannot see who I am.  All of us are so much more! Can you not see the myriad of hues that curl under each rolling tide, that sing through the cells of one leaf, that rustle and hum in every emotion passing across my face?

Light and shadow wash over all things, creating tints with no name, and driving the machinations of artists’ colourmen, sweating over the alchemy that will never, no matter how hard they work, obtain true dawn-beach-gold. For who can mix a palette for every green in nature, or even on one tree? And who can capture the nuances of light and dark playing joyfully, dancing as dolphins, on the crest of one wave?

Holding the briefest of moments in our consciousness, were we to live forever, we would never exhaust the meditations dancing in the light.

Text and artwork © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Lent 33

33

Gifts from the sea are boiled or battered, carved or scraped, hung out to dry in the sun, or bleached on racks. Only the pearl is allowed to retain its shape, and must not be opened up, smashed, cooked, consumed, but instead, valued, held, set in gold.  What makes this globule of oozed protection precious?

Learning from oysters, perhaps we might see that the real beauty of the prize is the transformation of what pollutes us, the redemption of irritants, and that the glow of the pearl is not of this world, but is transfiguration.

Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2018

155. Red and Green (Aesthetics Conclusions)

red and green colours

We have seen over the past few weeks how beauty catches us unawares, how it is not always formulaic, but often inexplicably pleasing. The placement of a twig, the angle of a wing, the colour of a vase, the texture of fruit, there are unending variables in the science of aesthetics. The researchers tell us that the juxtaposition of red and green is particularly pleasing to the human mind, and we are coming on to look at colours as our next theme. A lot of products take advantage of such pleasure psychology, as does all the photo manipulation that goes on in advertising. But the truth is that there are very few things that we cannot, with some altering of perspective and a little metanoia, shifting of thought, find pleasing to the eye. Even the conventionally “ugly” person may have a smile that lights up the world, and just as we have to relearn our own loveliness, maybe we also need to reteach ourselves the loveliness of others.

text and photo © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017 Poem below, which I absolutely love © Galway Kinnell from his website http://galwaykinnell.com/books/poetry/body-rags/poem-1/

 

Saint Francis and the Sow by Galway Kinnell

 

The bud

stands for all things,

even those things that don’t flower,

for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;

though sometimes it is necessary

to reteach a thing its loveliness,

to put a hand on its brow

of the flower

and retell it in words and in touch

it is lovely

until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;

as St. Francis

put his hand on the creased forehead

of the sow, and told her in words and in touch

blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow

began remembering all down her thick length,

from the earthen snout all the way

through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of

the tail,

from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine

down through the great broken heart

to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering

from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking

and blowing beneath them:

the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

153. Symmetry (Aesthetics 12)

Melly symmetry

Our brains are programmed to find symmetry pleasing, and one of the things that happens to a photograph of a model in a magazine is that his or her face will be photoshopped to look more symmetrical. If you make a face perfectly mapped from one side onto the other though, the outcome can be a little unnerving, and unnatural, and our brains pick up on this.

Supermodel Cindy Crawford was told she’d never make it as a model with a mole on her face. She refused to have it removed, and instead of holding back her career, it made her face instantly recognisable. Sometimes what society tells us is a flaw can be one of the very things that makes us more appealing. In Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, Oryx and Crake, the male hero bemoans the perfect bodies that are now genetically engineered, and hankers for an old lover who had “imperfections” that he knew and loved. Here is my cat’s fearful symmetry, not quite “perfect” but perfectly loveable to me. Idiosyncrasies are often pleasing to the eye and the heart, even though we might not be able to explain why.

text and photo © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

152. Moon (Aesthetics 11)

moon

The moon is one of those things in life that is always aesthetically pleasing. Like flowers, it cannot go wrong when it comes to beauty. It is simple, silver and varying degrees of crescent or roundness. It never has a displeasing shape or shine. We are built to look up at it in wonder, as we cannot do with its sister the sun. I should think if you looked up things that have had most poems and songs written about them, that the moon would be pretty high on the list, and for good reason. Sat in its blue hammock here with a tinge of pink on the horizon, it is a recipe for a perfect sky.

text and photo © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

151. Apple Bubbles (Aesthetics 10)

bubbles

Bottled air, these bubbles of condensation are caught in a green tinted bottle that used to hold apple blossom body spray. They look like little apples themselves. Droplets of freshness, yet doomed to become stale in their plastic prison, they are nevertheless a little work of art all by themselves.

text and photo © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

149. Unexpected Beauty (Aesthetics 8)

cup of tea

When I manage to get out into my tiny garden I expect to encounter beautiful things. I know there will be sky and green, flowers and insects. Most of the photographs in this blog are taken outside. But I am less expectant of finding loveliness indoors. Everything is so familiar and unchanging, and with finite possibilities. But from time to time a small thing will cause me to catch my breath in wonder, and the more I challenge my own seeing (as writing this blog has helped me, and I hope, you, to do) the more often it happens. A small rainbow circle on the wall from the light refracting through the spyhole in the front door. The pinkness of my cat’s nose. The colours in my pastel boxes, waiting to be unleashed on unsuspecting paper. The love in my husband’s eyes. And this photo, which is of tea in a glass cup, a beautiful thing.

text and photo © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

148. Convention (Aesthetics 7)

rain rose

At some point we encounter a rose covered in raindrops, or a photo of a kitten catching snowflakes on its tiny nose, and we feel programmed to acknowledge this as beauty, as pleasing, which indeed it is. But the problem with convention is that it goes straight to the brain and bypasses the eyes of the heart, in much the same way as clichés do in language. A poem full of phrases we’ve heard many times before is unlikely to move us, to engage our emotions. Boredom is a terrible human invention, and familiarity (to use a cliché) does indeed breed contempt.

So what must we do when there is a rose covered in raindrops before us? We must see it with new eyes. Does our heart say it is lovely, and does it give us joy? Is it a meeting with beauty? Can we see something fresh and new here? Can we know for ourselves, the loveliness of each new rose?

text and photo © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

144. Decay (Aesthetics 3)

decay

The Japanese have a helpful term, wabi sabi, which means the beauty possible within imperfect things, even difficult things, like death. There is a strange beauty that we can see if we train ourselves to do so, in the processes of dying and decay. Sometimes these things are just ugly, it’s true, and I don’t think there’s much point in denying that.

In mysticism we learn that everything belongs, but that doesn’t mean it’s always pleasant, either to go through or to watch. But just occasionally, there is a pattern or a juxtaposition that our inner eye can point to as lovely, even as the cross can somehow be when we gaze upon it.

text and photo © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

142. Weed (Aesthetics 1)

weed

When we think of beauty, we are programmed to think of symmetry and perfection, to rate certain face shapes, body sizes, over others. There even seems to be a hierarchy of plants. Think for instance, what the first flower is that comes to mind when you want one that is aesthetically pleasing, and you are more than likely to come up with a rose, or an orchid. But there are a great number of beautiful weeds, too, like these lady’s slippers growing in my lawn, just as there are beautiful people who don’t fit the stereotypes. We need to develop wiser eyes, and challenge the automatic paths we think along.

text and photo © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017