So I was looking at one of my paintings today and noticed that the closer I got to it the more it became less and less cohesive as a picture. As my field of view narrowed, small details of how the painting was constructed began to emerge and become distinct. Backing away from the painting, I noticed the details become increasingly less evident as the picture emerged from the brush and knife work.
Watching a technique demonstrated is like viewing the painting from a distance. The technique is there in full view, like the finished painting. What's missing are the little nuances of the technique's construction and the feeling of connection between the partners that become obvious only after I get on the mat and practice it for awhile.
When I'm practicing I can feel every point of contact with my partner, feel his energy and level of commitment, notice the paths of our motions, the points of intersections and tangents. It's like looking at the painting from close up and noticing the details of the various types of brush strokes and the places where the pallet knife was used.
As my point of reference contracts, my awareness expands and details previously hidden begin to emerge. The price paid is the blurring out of the big picture that is noticeable from the outside. Conversely, as my point of reference expands and my awareness contracts the overall form of the technique emerges though the details are once again lost to view.
(Original blog post may be found here