I did not sleep well last night and got up briefly at 4a.m. While up, I got this thought, out of nowhere: “Sleep some more, dream of red poppies, fields of red poppies.”
And as I drifted back to sleep for another hour or so, I remembered. As a young child, my favorite painters where some of the impressionists, Cezanne, Renoir, and Monet. And I had this little picture on a cardboard background, of a field of poppies, and it always was one of my favorites. Over time, all this had drifted away, into the background of forgetfulness. In later years, I became interested in airbrush work, and then computer graphics, which are all techniques to recreate reality in more and more detail, smoothly, to the point today where in a movie we cannot distinguish anymore between a “real” image and one that was painted using 0 and 1s, that is made in the computer. 0 and 1s, how obvious can it be, being and not being.
But that is another story.
This one here is of a painting and a painter. For back then, as a very young child, I seemed to have liked the impressionists.
That painting I loved was by Monet.
Yesterday, I read a paper by quantum physicist John A. Wheeler. In it, he mentions one of Monet’s painting (“Impressions”) so a bridge was build, between art and physics.
This morning, I then wake up at around 5:15, get up, and google “Monet, red poppies” and there it is. One of my early childhood loves: "Poppy field near Argenteuil" (French: "Les Coquelicots", 1873). Here it is:
At 6:15, I go sit outside, at dawn, to listen to the birds and watch the sunrise, which by now has become one of my favorite things to do, I did not expect an inner dialogue to unfold, but it did.
A dialogue about beauty.
I invite you to listen in to my inner voice, my subconscious, or again, was there something more? As I start off, my subconscious seems to repeat some of my insights from the last few days, but my inner Monet comes on and it turns into a discussion of Art that I did not expect. Again, I cannot say where it all came from, and ask that you be the judge.
[Sitting outside, having that image of Monet’s painting of the poppies in my mind]
Hanns (H from now on): Is anybody there?
The Club (C): We are here, we are here.
H: What have you to say?
C: The red poppies are indeed important. They link you to your past. As a child, a young child, you had this as a card board painting. And you foresaw, subconsciously, that this would be important.
*[this goes into the notion of how all time is connected as a whole ]
It is like you said: the bottom half is the quantum world becoming. The top half represents the smooth side [the sky] becoming.
You know, Monet is here. Do you want to talk to him? He is one of your strands.
H: YES ! So Chaques? *
*[ Of course, his name was Claude! When I said it, I knew immediately it might be wrong. I am so bad with names. It happens to me in real life, too, all the time, to the point of being embarrassed that I cannot remember somebody’s name, even they know mine all so well. And this issue has come up again and again in past in my inner conversations, and at first caused me great anxiety, and anxiety is bad for the dialogue, so I just learned not to worry about it, and just accept that names are my weakness. That's just how I am, I cannot change that. Now, if it happens, I just let the conversation flow. At least, my inner Monet did not seem to care. ]
Claude Monet [CM]: Oh, I loved painting the poppies. As an artist, and you understand, the bright red against the green makes your heart sing.
Can you see this with your eyes, and the spirit of an artist?
H: Oh, I understand so well. The flowers in my grass, the lilac flowers, I could not bear to cut them this year. They are so beautiful.
CM: Yes, exactly. And beauty is all around us. That’s why Pissarro* painted regular landscapes. He was a great teacher to us.
*[ Camille Pissarro. French painter who influenced may others].
But back to the poppies. The red, this wonderful red. It illuminates us. It illuminates me. And when I painted it, it was divine* -- a divine day splashed in sunlight.**
*[At that time when I typed the word “divine,” a bird swooped in and sat down on the railing, oh, about 5 feet from me. So fitting, just like the other day] **[ At this point, I remember, I went, huh, this is getting interesting. I wonder where this is coming from? ]
And I painted people in the image. Because, like Pissarro, I wanted to show how so called ordinary people had access to this beauty that is all around us. We live in beauty. We are beauty. We just have to realize it.
Now you made a connection to quantum states. Of course, back then, in 1870 something [the painting was 1873] we did not know about this. And John [Wheeler] or David [Bohm] know all so much more about it.
But my heart was beauty. And in this style we developed what they called impressionism after my painting “Impression,” and then later pointillism, it expresses this beauty in little dots. Little dots that come together to form this beauty. And you would say, little “quantas” of energy, mass, and light, but in your mind and consciousness, it forms and represents this beauty that I tried to capture.
H: Amazing. I never looked at it that way.
CM: No, Hanns. It is amazing, but it is also so simple. We [humans] do it all the time. But the artist, you see, he sees or feels it more innate. Call it an eye or a talent. But he brings it out for others to see. That beauty that is all around us, always here, the artist frames it.
All art does.
True art, that is, as James [Joyce] wrote about so well.
*[Joyce said, some art is made by design to be repulsive or "pornographic:" like an ad that draws you in by design with subconscious imagery. But true art is just for itself, and we recognize that, and are drawn in into it, and merge with the beauty. I agree with this]
H: Lost the thread. Rereading.
CM: Yes, this beauty is all around us. But I, and our little group [of impressionistic painters], we painted that beauty differently. And we were chastised at first.
But in our impressions, capturing little dots of light, yes, there is this connection, this feeling, of how the whole, the universe, and beauty, and consciousness is on one side whole but enfolds [unfolds? enfolds fits as well, though] as quanta of light, of information, whatever. Again, your philosopher-physicists can explain it better. I, or us in that group, we just felt it.
We felt something, that others did not see – yet.
We felt it, and brought it out for others to see.
And I hope, you, and others can look at our paintings now with yet another layer of appreciation.
H: Wow. I certainly do.
CM: So thank you for giving me and us a voice.
H: I’ll see you in Paris!
CM: Looking forward to it.
The conversation is over. And I look up at the morning sky, and it is divine. It is not a sunny morning, kind of hazy with clouds, but the sun breaks through.
Another day, I would have called it just “ordinary.”
But today, I call it divine beauty.
As it is everywhere, anytime, if we can look at it with the eyes of an artist.
Namaste — I bow to you and the Divine in you.
Copyright © Hanns-Oskar Porr