All in the mind?

Blue, green, yellow, white: candy-coloured stripes of field and sky amaze me on these near-twilight drives I have been taking recently. So much so that I find myself wondering if the colours I see are only in my mind; if I am the only one seeing such excitement in a dull landscape.

Which in turn starts me thinking about colours, how it is that some knock you out while others are lifeless and shallow. What is it that creates depth in a colour? Or rather, what is it that makes us see depth and intensity? Is it in the thing we see, in the light around it, in the eye of the beholder?

Which takes me back a few months to conversation with friends about abstract art and why it works when it does – sparked by a mooch round Tate Modern where I was taken by surprise by Mondrian, a square of red that went straight to my heart – why?

I remember that feeling when I turned a corner and saw the painting, like a Cupid’s shaft to the heart, leaving warmth, recognition, calm, joy. It is the same feeling I have when I turn back at the end of the dog field, turn towards home and the view of church and trees against the sky; daily surprised by this everyday beauty, the colours everywhere.

I wish I understood the mystery; and / but I love the grace that comes from surprise and not-knowing.

2 thoughts on “All in the mind?

  1. I noticed that since I first read this blog entry – when it arrived as an email – the words “like an old-fashioned LSD-type trip” have been removed. I have to say that I’m glad about that, if for no other reason because it made me wonder what the “new-fashioned” LSD trips were like. But otherwise I like this entry (is that the word?) very much; I’m often aware of colours in landscape myself and glad to find I’m not alone in responding emotionally to them. In Tennyson’s “Tears, idle tears” I have always thought that “the happy Autumn fields” were golden, though some commenters on that poem have wondered how fields in Autumn could seem happy at all; but here you are finding excitement in the colours of late Winter – well done you!

  2. A man who came to fix our broadband the other day, who is also a photographer, said that what he found amazing in this landscape is how the same view could look so different on different days – a quality that comes perhaps from so much sky – even small changes in the light are everything. I don’t really understand it, but something like that. Perhaps in a city one sees shadow and contrast more.

    The other morning, driving to rather than from Grantham, the morning sun on stubble fields was extraordinary — and autumnal – like a vast crumpled cloth of gold lying on the landscape (in turn making me think of some giant Walter Raleigh laying down his lovely cloak on the muddy earth..)

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