I once read a koan that said something about seeing the world through the eyes of painters.
While I didn’t write it down and forgot who the bodhisattva who wrote it was,
the lesson stuck with me
so that now when I go for a walk
I cannot help but look at the sky and see above me El Greco’s view over Toledo in the East
and Gainsborough’s billowing clouds to the North,
Winslow Homer in the South
and Turner in the West
and along the trail I walk through Constable’s English woods
or look out over Wood’s rolling prairies of Iowa
or across at Monet’s haystacks
or down at his colors reflected in any water
I had an Art professor who painted with the lush, subtropical glories of Laguna. He told us that we all contain internal palettes derived from our surroundings in childhood.
He made me realize that I grew up in a world created by Ed Mell and Maynard Dixon but vandalized by David Hockney.
They say O’Keefe destroyed most of her own works when she realized that she painted like dead European men. She wanted her own voice,
but after all, aren’t these two koans also true?
That what has once been seen can never be unseen and
We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.