Sunday, 12 May 2013

12. Colour Bias

I never had any painting training and have recently found myself a willing pupil, learning of this new world of the what eye sees and how it can be painted. AWM has been working through an interesting artistic challenge, which he describes in his blog here: 
Following this process and becoming fascinated by his obsession with creating a vivid and yellow "Lemon" was the inspiration for today's poem.  

Colour Bias

This problem, of a lemon –
After fragile confidence in apples and pears,
Has had you at first dismayed,
Then challenged, then despondent.
(Though I know victory will come).

How strange, that though I have eyes
37 years in the observing,
I never knew, under bias, my eyes had been rehearsing:
That yellow, next to blue would look green,
That sibling’d to red, orange tone stains would be seen
In fruit, upwards, from what it so smugly sits on.

I’ve seen the lemon. But never looked at it,
And never witnessed the impact ‘Surrounding’ places
On citrus, however humbly painted.
And isn’t it the way, that we look a thousand times
But never see, until we try to re-create, describe
Or find a way of capturing a truth?

This idea of Colour Bias:
Intellectually, I can find it an intriguing conundrum:
As making that Colour Wheel felt a new kind of science,
That broadened my mind:
 An “Oh, I see!” brain compliance,
But moved on from, not held in mind,
Though interesting, forgotten, without guidance.

Then I learn of simultaneous contrast: of adjacent exposure
Stimulating the opposite response in colour. That ‘Wheel’ lives
As a subtle monster jumping into your paint, even if the green
Is not strictly there.

And finally, I understand successive contrast:
Where the same colour can appear darker,
Or even spread before the eye, next to its antipodeans suitor.
Because, as you say “optical shit happens”;
And the human eye, as the heart,
Never operates in a computerised vacuum.

So, somewhere inside the shod foot of cognitive confidence,
Something stirs that has a restless, nagging prominence:
As a veruca, that makes its pea-sized presence known
To the princess mattress denial of my closed mind.
I realise what I feel I should have always known,
Humbled by my blindness, despite all the things that I have seen:
I see that context is everything.

 I realise this happens too, with words, mood, relationship.
Out of the chair, and challenged; tiredness, headache
And stoned by writing poetry,
I found that red words lost me my mellowed yellow.
And after the demanding succession
On my ears all week, my words became a stiletto
To tread on your fragile lemon.
Colour bias resulted in a Hannah pious
And unhelpful.  And I am sorry.


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