Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Is it a door or a doorway?

Have you ever walked into a room and forgotten what you went in there for? Research by Psychology Professor Gabriel Radvansky from the University of Notre Dame suggests that the doorway itself is the cause of these memory lapses.

"Entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an 'event boundary' in the mind, which separates episodes of activity and files them away," according to Radvansky. In other words, your brain files away the thoughts you had in one room in preparation for a new locale and new information.

I think we artists can be misled by edges in a similar way. Just as a doorway can trigger an event boundary for information retrieval, too many hard edges prevent us from visually exploring the possibilities of transition and unity. When we paint outlines and hard edges we are creating barriers which are often difficult to overcome. This "stop and start" approach to painting makes it even more difficult to see how all those "pieces" fit together.

"Edges allow us to define spaces, see their boundaries as well as what flows across them, and work with these flows. They are places of transition and translation, where matter and energy change speed or stop, or often, change into something else."
                                          Gaia's Garden, a Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture
                                          by Toby Hemenway


  1. These thoughts are exactly what I'm longing to allow and at the same time, entirely afraid of! The ego says, ''Look how in control I am! I can make this exactly right''. On the other hand, The Soul is whispering '' Let's hold hands with the very Atoms of creation! Let's be mysterious, let's give everyone a chance to join in this party with their eyes and connect the dots!''. Thank you for summarizing the function of edges: doorways that invite us to expanded consciousness, and to peering behind the surface of things. With great appreciation for your vision and willingness to share your concepts, Carole

    1. Thanks for your comment Carole - being in control and wanting to make it "right" are definitely two of the biggest problems we face when painting. I think many of us just want to "see" a little differently and then be able to paint a little differently too!

    2. I listened to your interview on Edges, and wow, I am finally ready to 'let go', and find the balance of accuracy and looseness and be done making pictures... It's been a wonderful journey to this point. I have a favorite quote by a saintly woman..''There is no such hour on the timepiece of fate, as 'too late'.'' Thank you again for expressing and glorifying your truth. Happy painting (-:

  2. Oh my goodness, I never thought of it like that but what a wonderful analogy. I am so incredibly moved by your use of edges and every time I take my brush to an edge and soften it or sharpen it I think of your excellent use of edge work.