Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Confucius Guide to Learning

"Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous."-Confucius
Confucius talks of the perils of thought without learning and I can understand his concern. In many ways we restrict our thoughts, if we do not take the time to understand where they connect to the thoughts of others. We have access to the teachings of an entire civilization. We can access these great minds through courses, books and many other methods. We can access ideas that belong to great thinkers and allow ourselves to be challenged. Our assumptions can be tested and our ideas expanded. There is always so much to learn but regardless of success or failure, we are always rewarded with the knowledge we obtain.

If we learn without thought, then we do not bring forward our own ideas. We don't interact with knowledge, we simply repeat it. We are not enhanced by what we have learned, I can see why Confucius would see this as 'labor lost'. Learning should be an interaction between what we already know and what we are capable of understanding.

I am currently working towards my second degree (my first degree was Fine Art). I'm studying part time, distance learning with the Open University. Today I found that I've successfully passed DD203 Power, dissent, equality: understanding contemporary politics. I would recommend this module to anyone interested in politics. This has been my second module, the first being DD101 Introduction to the Social Sciences. I am working towards a BA(Hons) Politics, Philosophy and Economics. I have a few years to go before my degree is complete but I would recommend the Open University to anyone.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Loose Ends

'Loose Ends' by Jina Wallwork

It is difficult to locate a definitive ending, especially when I am attempting to create one. It feels as though I am trying to thread pieces of string, through rain clouds. It ties up nothing other than my time. Am I creating my own delays? I think of stepping forward when the time is right, but I cannot locate the ideal moment. This second is captured by the past before I can fully interact. I do not wish to carry these complications further down my path, because they occupy my time with worry and concern. I hope that I can recognize which tasks need to be completed. I do not wish to extend my own delays, yet I realize that some responsibilities must be dealt with now. Some problems grow with time and while facing their enormity, you can look to the past and locate a moment where they could have been easily resolved. So I need to focus on them now. Do I begin with what is hard or do I begin with what is easy? All that matters is that I begin.

I need to be strong and resist the agendas of others. They have their own obligations, but I cannot prioritize them above my own. How can I assist another if avoid completion of what is necessary? How can I believe that I have any advice to give, when I cannot demonstrate the resolve to tackle my own problems without distraction? In the past I have watched my life unravel, while I have assisted another with tasks that belong to them alone.  With time each task grows larger and I know that I have this moment to tackle them. I must tie up my loose ends.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Brushstrokes of Vincent Van Gogh

'Plain Near Auvers' by Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh probably has the most distinct and recognizable brush strokes. It becomes easy to recognize his work by what is such a small movement. Even the imitators have to learn the mannerisms in the brushstroke rather than attempting to replicate the structure of a piece. Van Gogh manged to make a distinctive brushstroke that was completely his own. A short sharp movement creates these brushstrokes and it is a slow, precise way of working. It is an obsessive, time consuming process. The images contain so much energy and focus. There is devotion within his pieces. They contain one mans inability to cease in the act of creation. They contain originality and passion. Whenever a similar brushstroke is used, people will recognize Van Gogh's influence on the work. After all of these years he is tied to a gesture, Van Gogh has become his trademark brushstroke. He has full and total ownership, because we cannot separate the man from the mark.  

Monday, July 9, 2012

Montagne Sainte-Victoire by Paul Cezanne

'Montagne Sainte-Victoire' by Paul Cezanne

Cezanne rightly deserves his prominent position in art history. The land contains both buildings and fields, which create tight angular patterns in the bottom third of the image. The mountain stands in contrast to those angular shapes. The shapes within the mountain are soft like material, even though we know rock to be hard and structured. This is the softest part of the image and Cezanne could have painted it in many different ways, but he chooses to soften the mountain and harden the land. Cezanne painted this site many times and in different images the mountain is softened. These are realistic images, yet they also express something of the artist. They do not only reveal the mountain, they reveal the man. 

'Montagne Sainte-Victoire' by Paul Cezanne

They reveal an emotional attachment to the area. He created a large body of work featuring this landscape, which already suggests a highly emotional connection. Just viewing the work encourages you to visit. It isn't just the beautiful scene. Cezanne is revealing his love for the area and when you view these images, you see the location through his loving gaze. He reveals his connection, rather than just a mountain.
'Montagne Sainte-Victoire' by Paul Cezanne

'Montagne Sainte-Victoire' by Paul Cezanne

Click here to view the video on youtube