Catching a being in color

In color, just as in form, the same process dominates. To make something which is really whole, we play and play, and try and try, until we catch a being shining through.

Suppose, for instance, that you decided to paint something with this beautiful blue. Can you see how you would probably place other bright, nice colors around it, try to make it interact with reds, or yellows? Can you feel the intensity of the strange way in which grey and white and black, and pale blue, are all used to make and support this luminous blue?

And now imagine that you suddenly have the idea of putting black there. To get the feeling of such a moment, cover the black up with your hand, look at the rest of the painting and its colors — and now try to imagine, in your inner eye, your mind’s eye, some areas of black on the left.

Can you feel the strange intensity which this suddenly creates? And can you see how immensely surprising it is? It is strange, almost haunting, and somehow it seems odd that just this color would produce so magical an effect. And do you see how especially strange it is, that the black could affect the blue at such a distance? Often the colors that affect a given color are near it, but here, this black produces dazzling light, almost on the other side of the picture, where the blue is. It is this inner light, which the black creates — which makes the blue shine, from so far away, and in such a strange, intensity — this is the inner light, in a form where you especially see its being nature.

In this example we begin to see how the process of looking for inner light, and the process of looking for the slightly mysterious being — like a haunting melody, half heard, suddenly grasped — really works. It is very hard to do. But it seems to be a real, and attainable process, which each of us, if we only concentrated enough, might be able to do ourselves.

(Pages 132-133)

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