The title means “good eye” and refers to a meditational tool developed by Shambhala Buddhists, joy and awareness in things from a truly close-up perspective. Not being inclined to any religious persuasion myself, I do think miksang is a wonderful tool for art and creativity. The digital camera makes it so easy. No expenses except the camera itself and perhaps prints if you’re so inclined. A built in macro function (the little flower icon setting) is available on virtually every digicam on the market. Get close, point and shoot at lots of things, go to your computer and run them as a slide-show. You’ll be amazed at what you see! And how many ideas pop up for ways to use the colours and shapes. There’s a Flickr group dedicated to this or more info on the Miksang website.
Funny thing though — I’ve been doing this in some way for most of my life without knowing what to call it. My myopic vision may have contributed to this fascination for the nearby! Even as a small child I’d look at a section of pattern where the bathroom curtain shadow fell on the wall or run around with a magnifying glass or a paper tube peering at flowers and bugs and anything else that caught my eye. In school I remember cutting out a square hole in a piece of cardboard and moving it over images in magazines to see the shapes that resulted. More recently I’ve played with photos by cropping and using some of my photo-editing tools on them. Breaking the obvious down to more mysterious elements. Making you really look at things instead of glancing over them and intuiting the details. Changing your perspective. It’s good for you.
I got the original info on the concept of miksang from this — one of Robert Genn’s newsletters. If you’re not signed up for his free twice-a-week service, you’re missing out on some good stuff. Even if you aren’t a painter there’s a lot of thoughtful information that any creative person could use, plus some insights into the creative mind. And I really love Robert’s paintings though I can’t afford any! Maybe because he’s local to me that his natural scenes are often very familiar but with distinctive colour edges which really appeals to me.
One artist (and friend) who often uses the up-close-and-personal or the odd angle in her work is my son’s mother-in-law, Judith Fairwood. On her page you’ll see some of what I mean though many of her more macro paintings are not pictured here. Note the persimmons — those 6 paintings were our commission and reside in my kitchen! And the “Geometry of Reeds” is another one I covet and have seriously considered purchasing. The only thing holding me back is that it’s very large and we don’t have enough available wall space for it. Maybe I need to reconsider clearing something out? BTW the little girl in “Two Cakes” is my DIL and mother of my two grandkids! I love that pouty look of concentration on her face as she places the Smarties just so. (See the two boxes in the painting. This is Canada. Those are not M&Ms!) She still gets that expression. Heh.
Back to miksang. Here’s mine for the day:
My blueberries are ripening! I had some along with fresh raspberries from the outdoor market and plain yogurt all mixed with granola for breakfast this morning. Yum. Contemplating blueberries and eating them too.