4/07/2013

Being led into the white unknown

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Ice halo phenomena, taken just outside Tibet
~ photo from Imgur ~

Aside from my love of white flowers, I might describe myself as someone who is allergic to white.
I don't venture into that pristine territory willingly and in fact, there's something about white that generally sets my teeth on edge.  There is no other color that makes me feel this way.

With that in mind, I have been taking this small statement to heart:

The obstacle is the path
~ Zen proverb ~


back view of Kate Middleton's wedding gown

The problem, as I've been chewing on it, started [most likely] with these garments ... I never was the kind of girl who adored the idea of a white wedding; who yearned for it, plotted and planned for that exquisite white-filled ceremony.  To the contrary, give me a good 'ole elopement any day ... in street clothes and comfy walking shoes.

While all those dreams of lacy white brought most gals some sense of profound joy,
for me, I felt only this ....
   
photo by Daniele + Iango
~ for Comme des Garcons, spring/summer 2012 ~


constricted.


Door at 'Stay' hotel, Copenhagen


Then jude chose WHITE  for the first journey in What-If Diaries ... and said "self is the place to start"...
so in order to stay with that thought, I did what I usually do when I am blocked and started to 
explore my limitations [through pictures].

I figured that if I needed to put out the privacy tag on my internal wonderings at some point, 
the What-Iffers would probably understand.
So it began.



When I first saw this photo I thought to myself, oh, how I adore lace, but  this  kind of lace ...
grungy, utilitarian;  torn by use, weather, wind .... genealogy.
No longer pure, certainly not pristinely white.
And as I thought on, I thought how this also explains my current affair, my love of reusing old cloth.

I pulled out all the whites I own.  Silence.
Nada.
Not one drop of inspiration to be found.


Then I began a word list,
starting with the literal ...

Kidergarden Cerdanyola del Valles
~ photo by Nico Baumgarten ~

Light.


~ photo by shila.wilson ~

Albino.


recipe for homemade pasta
~ from Pure Vege ~

Flour.

Before too long, a switch turned ... I began looking at white as an abstraction,
a concept, a descriptor.

~ photo by Patrick Hidden ~

White geometry ...




beautiful age ...



1920's handmade drop waist dress

white as something that is barely there ...


Alexander McQueen, autumn/winter 2006-2007

or    boldly   there with a contrasty companion ...


:::


Many, many days into these exercises now and I no longer have that strong sense of white being such a negative space.   The edges seem to be rubbed smooth around my earlier sensitivity.  Somewhat.
Still, I'm feeling a bit like this fella on the tightrope.

copper plate etching by Brodsky and Utkin

I've some distance to go yet.


Hopefully, I won't get too many of these along the way ....

wrinkles
~ photo by Tim Flach ~







38 comments:

  1. Loved the photos - I love white! Especially white lace. White lace is ethereal, open to possibilities. I love how we are all so different - people are so interesting.

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    1. It's been very interesting to read all of the 'What If' group comments about reactions to white. They are all across the board! At first, I felt shy about admitting my dislike of the whole white-wedding-lace thing ... now, not so much. As you say, Christine, we are all so different - and it is really fascinating to observe & listen.

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  2. What a wonderful post...well, journey actually...that you've taken us on...an exploration for and of white. Just simply beautiful.

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    1. I know you will really identify with this sentiment, Jennifer, but when I'm faced with so much ****white**** all I want to do these days is THROW IT IN A DYE POT!!!!!!

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  3. My goodness you have collected some amazing images... I especially love the ice halo. And I love the quote about the obstacle being the path. Isn't it grand that Jude put this obstacle in front of you. By the way, I'm soooooooooooo with you about not relating, ever in my life, to the white wedding thing. Give me elopement any day. You've got me thinking about (and noticing) white. How fun is that!

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    1. Image "collecting" on the internet sure is a lot cheaper than bead collecting on my credit card, dear Robin! So happy you enjoyed this post. Perhaps your two white beaded pieces won't be your last after all? And yes - this has been, funny to say it, a very fine obstacle from jude after all. Nothing like opening ones eyes ....

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  4. great post and lots of wonderful inspiration in these photos .
    they work for me too . i am still playing around with white .
    hopefully soon something will kick in .
    kathyd

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    1. Don't be dissuaded by false kicks, Kathy. I've had 3 aborted attempts so far which actually pushed me towards discovering some other piece of visual /mental information. Kinda like a stubborn puzzle. Hopefully things will really begin to click in for both of real soon!

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  5. oh you always have the most magnificent images. i feel the opposite about white, although i never wanted the white wedding dress, having nothing to do with the white dress, mostly with the big wedding...but never made it there,anyway. i have always loved white blouses with ruffles and lace and had lots of them when i was young. i do like the worn, used, grungy, as you say, lace as well. yes, we are all so different but how wonderful that we can learn from each other and open ourselves up to new ways of seeing things. loved this post.

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    1. Chuckling, deanna, because I was always the tomboy. I liked a lot of girlie things, but ruffles certainly weren't one of them ;>/ Thanks for your very reaffirming words ~ I so appreciate them.

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  6. Love the photos, love the post. I'm very attracted to white, but haven't ventured there yet in my own art. Although I seem to be eternally inspired by others' whitework.

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    1. .... speaking of "whitework" Connie, have you seen some of the magnificent whitework embroidery online - positively mind boggling, the beauty of it all. I entirely get the drive that would make someone produce such incredible stitching, but that certainly shall never be moi !

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  7. what a lovely exploration of the idea of white... did you ever develop Black & White film and print in a dark room? hose old negatives where white is black & black is white? do you photograph the light or focus on the shadows when you are framing a work? just some thoughts...

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    1. Yes indeed, Mo .... spent many a year with my head hung over darkroom trays of chemicals. I still adore b/w photography to this day although I only work in the "digital darkroom" now. Do I focus on the light or the shadows? That would depend entirely on the subject matter at hand ... where I might feel the emphasis is coming from, or what I'd like to most draw attention to. These considerations almost come automatically to me now, I guess a benefit of [gulp] 25 years of picture taking.

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  8. thank your for taking us along on this personal journey into white! i, too, struggled with this white what-iffing. found direction in a different path. yours has opened new horizons. new possibilities. don't know how many of them i will walk down...but it is enlightening just to have seen them as i travel along down this road i am already on.
    namaste'

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    1. Heh, welcome over here, Joe! I am so glad that you understood my true meaning when I left that last comment on your blog and you're ok with it ;>]] The road: yes, I believe we are all in for quite the adventure this time around with jude - her teaching method has evolved greatly since the last time I watched her needles at work. There is SO MUCH to consider now. And it's grand! See ya 'round ...

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  9. I certainly enjoyed reading and seeing your exploration of "white". I have an aversion to the colorless color and was interested to discover a new way to look at white. With your illustration, I realized its actually pristine white that I choose not to choose. Each of your illustrations were excellent examples of white perfection.

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    1. Carol, we are choosing not to choose the very same thing ... love that! I'm must admit, I am really trying to push myself on this one. I know I won't necessarily enjoy every moment while doing that, but I ALWAYS end up some place interesting when I do. You and I would probably agree about *not* striving for perfection. Perfect white perfection????? RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Welcome here, Minka ... and thank you.

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  11. This is a wonderful post! Exploring white with you opens up all sorts of thoughts. I seems to me that you've perfectly captured the 'what if' idea -- taking the questions and thoughts and putting them into the 'what if' box and pulling them out one by one. Beautiful!

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    1. I like the visual images that get conjured up from you naming it the *what if box.* That is how I'm going to think of it from now on, Penny ~ thank you!

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  12. Love your collection of images and your thoughts. You have me thinking further...It's interesting to me how we all have such strong reactions to color...

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    1. When I first learned that jude was starting with white, I had an "ohhh NO" moment. Then, as you say, Deb, others ended up having this strong reaction as well & thankfully, were vocal about it ... whew. I think there's a whole bunch of us actually who are working our way through this white conundrum. As it's turned out, this has been/is continuing to be a very fulfilling exercise in discovery.

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  13. This morning I really battled to choose the right white to paint my bedroom walls. There are dozens ... probably hundreds of different shades of white. (I enjoy seeing all the different shades together). You've chosen some beautiful images for this post, Sweetpea. Love the grungy white lace curtain!

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    1. oooooh yes, "different shades of white" ... I understand this sooooo much better now than I would have one month ago. Warm, cool, muted, brights, I wonder what you will end up choosing, Robyn. In keeping with my allergy to white, after our house was built & we needed to decide on a color for the walls, I went with something called 'Secluded Beach' (a pale warm sand color). Most definitely NOT white. And my dishes aren't white. I guess I'll stop there ;>D Happy painting!

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  14. Your post brings back memories of the "white" passage in Moby Dick where Melville expresses some rather similar sentiments--for pages and pages.

    Those of us who live in relatively hot climates have a love of white--from the way white flowers reflect at night, perhaps (and the smell of Jasmine, Honeysuckle, Gardenia, Jimson Weed and such like on warm nights)...

    Vita must have designed her white garden as a remembrance of Pepita come to think of it--although chilly white is not so wonderful. I've had enough of snow this spring! Haloes and all (albeit that halo is a honey)...

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    1. HA! I remember that passage from Moby Dick, gads yes, it went on and on, didn't it. And I agree; there are many white flowering plants planted in my garden now for that very purpose of night viewing. It is so dang gray-skied here much of the year and those white blooms are like nature's electric lights. Oh, this will make you chuckle, Panayoti .... yesterday while weeding I noticed a sweet little colony of Verbascum 'Wedding Candles' that's taken hold in a most perfect spot, right near the back door. More lights!!

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  15. Thanks for sharing your pictures. I still have a difficult relationship with white but they have certainly made me a little bit more interested in it.

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    1. Difficult relationships with color, hmmm, I wonder if there is a technical term for our affliction? A silly thought, but this has all been such an interesting exploration into a personal bias my mind is going in all kinds of directions now. I wonder what we will end up with, Jane? Very pleased you stopped by.

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  16. Your 'White' posts are BRILLIANT. Now, me....I have a similar aversion to most color. My dwellings are a sea of 'museum board' white. I agree there are so many variations....but I have fixated on the 'perfect shade of white'. When color appears in my work....it is SHOCKING. But fun. What a great exercise in opening up our perspective.

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    1. ... an "aversion to most color" ... how extraordinary. Gosh, we are all so, so different. What makes one of us mental is bliss for the other; balm for one is torture for the next.

      This whole white exploration sure has been interesting.

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  17. Oh I did love this post Sweatpea!
    I adored that incredible screened verticle window...and that 20's dress in the window!
    The wedding dress look and white for perfection never spoke to me either.
    Enjoyed your musing on white very much!


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    1. Sophie, it's been an age ... HELLO!
      I would have so worn that dress in the window! With a colored slip underneath, HA!!

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  18. Great post....your exercise against "white" resistance is mesmerizing! Great photos.

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    1. Many thanks for the kind words, Marie.
      The resistance is still there, but the appreciation for white has taken on new dimension.
      All good ;>]]

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