December 15, 2010

Painting and Haiku


There is a painting of a snow covered forest. Everything, trees, snow on leaves, ground, is skillfully painted. I like the quietness emanating from the whole canvas. Then I notice. Something is lacking. Something that enhances the mood already present there, is missing. I tentaltively name that something a focal point.

Haiku is a very small poetry, yet it is powerful. The reason resides in its structure, juxtaposition of two things. Basho called it "Toriawase". Placement of two unexpected but somehow related things seems to evoke new awareness, pleasant surprise, and the switch of your imagination goes on, enabling you to appreciate it to a great extent.

I think that the juxtaposition applies to painting, too.

I think that what the painting mentioned above shows is one of the pair of the juxtaposition. It describes the situation, time, season and such. If written in haiku manner, it is the first one or two lines of haiku. In this case I choose one line.

Pristine snow on forest,

Then I come up with the other pair:

each tree looks as good as
home Christmas tree

What is missing, or what I call "focal point" resembles what these two lines imply. What is to add to the painting in place of these lines is entirely up to the painter. It could be some kind of animal or bird, could be human figure, could be bare tree branch. And that is where poetic mind of the painter comes. I wonder what a painter like Andrew Wyeth would add.

Pristine snow on forest,
each tree looks as good as
home Christmas tree

2 comments:

Devika said...

Very interesting and informative note, Kuni-san....reaching to the haiku :)

wishes,
devika

Gwilym Williams said...

I like these little insights.
Now I'm having fun playing with different 'focal points'.