Looking Out. Seeing In. An Internal Visual Journey.
“Learn to stand back and observe. This is an effortless form of mindfulness, where you open yourself to let impressions flow in without resistance.” – Deepak Chopra
Visual communication is communication, which relies on using ones vision. The way we communicate visually within our personal landscapes, coupled with interpreting the visual language of others is absolutely a very fascinating dynamic. The mind and visual processing are so vast, yet individualized. We process visual information differently and unlike verbal information, there is more of a gray area, so to speak, on what we recognize and notice or want to “see.” We are attracted or align ourselves with specific visual symbols which resonate within us in some way.
As an artist, I always find myself looking at and being attracted to visual imagery based on elements of art like color, pattern, lines, balance or looking at how light affects objects or scenery. I use this visual information to create or be inspired by. Sometimes I use it to just plain relax. The formulation of a painting or series of art revolves around a visual experience I have and manifests into my own creative interpretation. My visual mindset is usually geared towards a realized piece of art or idea. I don’t always take into account what I see, process, and am inspired by visually actually as symbol or in the context of my life. In response to this month’s subject of Media and Communication, I’ve decided to create a visual journal of a day in my life and honestly dissect it, trying to decipher and understand my visual language on a deeper level than I have been.
It’s Good Friday and I have the day off. I wake up breathing a great sigh of relief. As I gaze upward, what comes into view is a different view. I’m used to looking at this object straight on and right side up. It is a blue heart tied with a ribbon that I’ve hung right above the center of my bed. It is embellished with vines and flowers woven into its design tapestry. It’s really a lovely delicate object. I pause and take it in with the morning light.
I walk downstairs and do one of the first things I normally do, which is to make a pot of stovetop espresso and magically turn it into a latte or cappuccino. Like ritual, I put it on and go sit in the living room, in my comfortable wingback chair and watch the sun rise over the sea. Glorious. Always. The sweet, seductive aroma of my coffee being almost ready breaks me away. Walking over to the stove, I pause and watch the steam from the coffee maker dance across the air, almost hypnotic and oh so very enticing. It’s really visual food and like the sunrise, a daily occurrence.
I putter around my house; performing various visually boring tasks and then the outdoors beckons me. I take my almost three-year-old yellow lab, Melody for a long walk. The air is mild and welcoming, We begin and walk along the harbor and into a beautiful residential street, which follows the sea. I watch the light along the water, subtle today but forever moving with the ebb and flow of the sea. I breathe in and out with the flow of the water.
I also see all different kinds of birds. Singular and in flocks, perched on telephone wires or trees. They are on the ground and in the air. Black crows are making quite a ruckus, but their song is beautiful nonetheless. Seagulls, morning doves, cardinals, ducks and geese all follow the natural order of things. I follow the best I humanly know how.
We reach the end of the peninsula. We look around across the water for a bit, and then head back up the street. Looking down, I see a miracle. Like clockwork, even in this winter that would never end, there is growth. Doing a double take, I am in awe to see green growth. Bright, new, crisp green. At the top of this gorgeous green growth is the beginning of the crocus bloom. So delicate in its newness, I lightly touch the white blossom. It is wonderful.
Still following the water, we walk uphill and to our destination, the docks of the yacht club. Not a soul present, we relish in the fact we can enjoy without interruption. There is a pile of bright blue buoys, stacked up on the dock and also small white boats neatly arranged bottom up. The blue buoys appear even bluer because the sky is cloudy and the contrast is brilliant. Also, the white boats against the dark brown dock are creating a similar affect. I photograph them for this reason.
Inevitably, we are interrupted, not by people but by nature. While I’m taking pictures, I begin to feel a gentle rain on my face and see it on my lens and in the sea. I take what I can get and we head back home.
I begin internalizing this specific visual imagery and digesting it. Why am I attracted daily to certain imagery and feel like I need it almost like food or water? Why do I stop mid track to observe other imagery? Why does it call out to me?
Retracing my visual dictionary, I think about the daily rituals of watching the sunrise and making coffee. These two visuals bring me comfort. They ground me and help me center to begin my day. It is comfort I need before I venture out into the unknown territory of what the day may bring.
As I ponder the other visual information, a few more symbols stand out to me. The sea and birds. They evoke a sense of freedom and strength. They also move and are ever-changing. The ebb and flow of the ocean is reminiscent of the motion of the bird’s wings. Life is constantly moving and changing form and direction. It is an important message to keep on file. Knowing this gives me hope and faith and helps mentally prepare for lives uncertainties and upheavals. There becomes a certainty in the unknown when I view life in this manner.
Growth is another visual. We are all a work in progress. I learn about myself from wherever life takes me; I grow and emerge better and stronger from it. A symbol of newness and the cycles of the seasons and nature make me realize that I can reinvent, begin anew, whenever I make a decision to do so.
After performing this exercise, I realized certain visual imagery is necessary to my existence. It is more than creative and artistic visualization. It is food and water for my soul. The nourishment is essential to keeping my balance and aligning myself to wherever my lives adventure may lead me.
In essence, we see what we need to see and what we want to see for visual guidance as we navigate the unchartered waters of our lives. These images communicate and teach us what we need to learn.
by Kim Celona
Profilic Artist & Writer