So here it is.
My favourite painting.
Rooms By the Sea by Edward Hopper. 1951.
I have wanted to write about this painting for many years. I have used it to teach design students or explaining to others what we mean by sense of place.
Ultimately, for me, this is a painting of yoga.
This reality, found everywhere, is just waiting to be known. As Patanjali said, the world exists for the sake of the Self. And from the world, we go inwards on a journey to know that reality.
The world depicted in the painting is our portal for that journey .
Hopper’s original title for this painting was, ‘The Jumping off point’. He knew.
But its only possible to know this if you understand how to change your perspective and really look.
The painting asks, what is reality and what is the best way to know it?
The answer can be found through the silence, the simplicity the composition of space and event, held in a continuous never ending nowness, or as Huxley used to say thusness.
The painting invites us to step into its world. To know, to inhabit the infinite possibilities inside the finite experience of the composed spaces. There are clues everywhere.
The open doors,
The closed off perspective to the left and
The open uninterrupted perspective to the right.
The fragment of hanging picture…
We are invited to extend our observation.
To look beyond; between and through to space where discoveries can be made.
See the painting.
Resist intellectualising like a critic.
Don’t search for descriptions, concepts or labels. Just let-go and watch. Observe without attachment. That is what Hopper wants us to do. That is why everything is refined down to a basic presence.
The invitation is to see beyond to know a deeper reality inside where we are, what see, what feel…
And then realise the infinite possibilities of the moment experience. We are in the room. But we are not of it. There is no me, I or mine there is just is. Not the world, my world or myself. There is just reality and we see it for the first time.
A conscious knowing…
A field of connection, where everything is made of everything.
“Great art is the outward expression of an inner life in the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world. ”
Its clear that Hopper knew what he was after. What he was trying to observe and witness as a painter so that we can all learn to fine-tunes our senses, change and direct our perspective in a special way we can see things as they really are…