Tag Archives: seeing

156. Blue (Colour 1)

colour blue

St Francis said that after spending time in a meadow, he would have to come home and wring the sky out of his clothes. I imagine the Italian sky looked blue for a lot more of the time than it does here in the UK, but still, we get our fair share of the full range of blues, from the ocean of air that the summer swallows spiral in, to the palest shade on the horizon just before dawn.

text and photo © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

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.

154. Rubbish and a Rose (Aesthetics 13)

rose and dustbin

Sometimes beauty catches us off-guard as we’ve already said, springing up in unexpected places. Here is our friend juxtaposition at work again, a rose blooming with a dustbin for background, reminding us of how the ordinary can be made sacred, as well as of the transitory nature of worldly beauty. Everything, however lovely, is one day going to end up on a compost heap, in a bin, in a tip, or reduced to ashes. Only then can resurrection begin to work its holy magic.

text and photo © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

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

150. Captive (Aesthetics 9)

dad and peacock butterfly

Another time I encountered beauty unexpectedly was when my Dad found a peacock butterfly trapped in his old summer house. Not only was the butterfly extremely lovely to look at, despite, or even because of its wounds, but so was the care and gentleness with which my Dad’s hands lovingly and patiently released it.

As if this were not enough, I also got to have the exhausted insect lick sugar water off my finger – that was an amazing sensation, I can tell you! And then after my parents and I had watched it get its strength back and fly away, there was the added beauty of the symbolism of the whole episode. The freeing of a captive, tired from beating her wings against unyielding glass, the rescue by a gentle father, the feeding and setting on her way, albeit with scars. Beauty released that day, undeniably.

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

147. Tree Lace (Aesthetics 6)

Tree lace (aesthetics)

When the branches of the trees are all bare like this, and you look upwards into the intricate patterns, it almost seems like the skeletal forms are reaching out for one another in a Sistine Chapel vision that would be worthy of Michelangelo. Connections with art inform our sense of appreciation, and the interlacing of these trees against the blue sky, and probably under the ground too, is also part of the world’s beautiful connecting.

text and photo © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017