Monday, March 21, 2011

...texture me...

For a while now I have understood that my love of texture, whether in painting, mixed-media art, photography or digital editing, says something about my life and how I live and experience it.  Recently I stumbled upon the excerpt below in Freeman Patterson's lovely book Photo Impressionism, and felt the warm inner glow of recognition - that 'ah, yes' feeling.  Since he has captured my understanding of texture, not only as beauty, but as metaphor, I will allow his words to speak for me:

"As I opened a door onto my deck, I was struck by the integrated pattern of beaten-down brown grasses, their tiny black shadows, and a scattering of snow in the field behind my house.  I ran for my camera and tripod and for nearly an hour made images of the field, images that contained no dominant lines or shapes, nothing whatever that would pass as a center of interest.  Then, feeling euphoric, I made a cup of tea, sat down on the deck, and asked myself why I was so excited.  After a few moments I realized that, in abandoning the use of shapes and lines, I had focused entirely on texture, the weave or fabric-like nature of surfaces.

"More important, I realized that this change mirrored my life.  When I was younger I had goals in mind (shapes), and visualized roads or pathways leading to them (lines).  But as I grew older I accumulated a wealth of memorable personal experiences and significant relationships, and my life became less the pursuit of a goal than the appreciation of a richly woven tapestry.  The threads of all these experiences and relationships were like a texture ...

"The adage that your art precedes your understanding of it by at least a couple of years seemed very apt . . . now aware of what I was doing made me seek out and explore a variety of textures.

"Then one day I thought, "I'm looking for existing textures, but surely I can create textures too.""

~Freeman Patterson
  Photo Impressionism

And so, I too, find that I have texture within that clamors for expression.  Perhaps it is the texture of all that I repressed in my younger years (and beyond).  I was schooled in repression and came to it from a long line of repressors.  Lucky me, I was sent to l'Ecole de Beaux Arts of Repression and acquired a Ph.D. in the art.  Finally having left my repressive environs, over the years I tentatively entered the languishing labyrinths within and became acquainted with many of the feelings and reactions I unconsciously rejected - the good and the bad.  It's actually much easier than one might think! 

I have learned that while acknowledgement and expression are required to feel whole and healed, understanding and meaning do not necessarily have to accompany the expression.  If understanding comes - fine.  If not - expression is enough.  Recognizing repressed emotion lies within and giving it some form with expressive arts is one way to experience what almost feels like the liberation of 'en-light-enment'.  And so one way that I lighten my old, unconscious, repressive 'load' is by creating textures.  Why I'm almost floating!  :-) 

Perhaps you are doing the same with other expressive arts - dance, journal art, poetry, painting, sculpting, expressive writing, blogging, gardening, crafts, culinary arts, etc. etc. ... Do tell me how you express the texture of experience, and how it may be a metaphor for your life. 


  1. Bonnie,

    as you know, poetry (whether in traditional poetry form or not) is my method for expressing the experience of texture. I'm not unaware of the link between text and texture :-)

    I'm fascinated, lately, by the multi-sensory aspect of experience and that even though writing is expressed linearly, poetry can duplicate some of the synchronous aspects of experience through immediacy of association that calls up the sense capabilities of imagination.

    What you offered here regarding textures as both literal and metaphorical things, was really interesting and led me to greater understanding of what is possible to convey with their addition to photographs.


  2. nice. i have a similar philosophy with my writing..i like layering texture and putting people right there...

  3. Loved this! I've just recently picked up my love of writing poetry...I've abstained for 20 years. I think that I needed those 20 years to acquire the texture that I hope to share in my musings and poetry. Texture is immediately touchable, and therefore personal. Pretty powerful.

  4. So much richness in this post...I've never heard the expression, your art proceeds your understanding of it by a couple of years...tickled me so...As an inutituve feeler/creator, I certainly find this true and am at peace with it. Yea for you and your ah-ha moment! Such joy comes when we find language for what we are experiencing/creating.

  5. Posted about your generous spirit today on my blog. Thanks again Bonnie.

  6. interesting post... and i personally feel i read it at the right time. thank you :)

  7. I love a good aha moment! Especially when that moment is in the language your soul has always felt deep within.

    Your thought provoking posts are always an aha moment for me and always timely to what is going on in my life. Merci Beaucoup, Bonnie :)


  8. Love this post. You found the words that I could not to express what I am experiencing.


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