Bring Life To It

Endeavoring to open eyes, [Josef] Albers created narratives, metaphors, and myths to help his students see what was before them, and that pointed the way to a reality far beyond the facts. Fact: Lines, shapes, and colors are set down on paper. Myth: The lines breath, the shapes dance, the colors sing together. ‘The aim of life,’ Albers wrote, ‘is living creatures. The aim of art is living creations.’ That creations were not creatures made them no less real. The concern of the artist and the poet was not objective reality, but the experience of the reality. To transform fact into myth is to get at how things are experienced. By restoring the miraculous to the real, Albers sought to work magic on his students as well, to refine them — an alchemist turning lead into gold.
— from Josef Albers: To Open Eyes

Words To Paint By

“The earth remains forever,
the eye never has enough of seeing.” 

– Ecclesiastes

Just the other day I learned that all the blood in your body filters through your eyeballs every three hours. Why? The UV rays in sunlight kill pathogens that otherwise continue to cycle around in your bloodstream, leaving your body to find another way to rid itself of them. Crazy, right? The human body is just so amazing. The line above is a line that I've always inscribed on the back of all my paintings -- with the exception of the 4x4's because they don't allow enough space. I started doing this all the way back in high school. At the time I had my reasons, but now I continue to write this quotation more as a riddle and a tease, to both myself and others. This fact about eyeballs, blood, and sunlight occurred to me that it's part of the mystery of this riddle, one of the many reasons renewed truth and vitality is being found in ancient wisdom and spiritual text through science. Seeing -- looking at the world, the earth, its woods and waters and sunlight, looking at it through our eyeballsthe physical act of seeing -- is a vital act. Now when I inscribe these words on my paintings I will smile at the wonder of it, at the wonder of what it is to be in this body and to see through these eyes.

“A painter should have a clear mind and a strait eye.” 
– Josef Albers

Learning To See: Drawing Elipses & Moving

Browsing the website of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation I found this video, and after watching Albers move all around and make his students do laps, I thought, "This man is an athlete in the classroom!" I love how whole body movement is essential when teaching his students "how to see more acutely." 

"In this film—the only film of Albers teaching in the classroom—Albers is seen introducing students to the basics of drawing ellipses and foreshortened circles. His lively classroom manner is particularly evident as he gets the entire class on its feet and moving around to experience ellipses from all angles."