A BOOK OF LIGHT AND COLOR (1)(foreword)These are my gleanings on the subject of light and color from a period where I had no studio, and consequently was unable to paint. It was a difficult period and I divertedmyself by compiling an anthology of the texts on light and color which I liked the best. It soon became evident that our perception of light pervades our use of language to a degree which makes the idea of compiling a comprehensive work on the subject ridiculous. I am seldom deterred from the ridiculous, however, especially when such a project allowed me to vision and envision.
Several authors have assayed something similiar. By far the best, in my opinion, are Alexander Theroux's The Primary Colors, and its companion volume, The Secondary Colors. Both immerse the reader as if they are being dipped in red blue yellow et al. To read each was to become this or that color for a time--a novel experience, almost out of L.Frank Baum. I was delighted,I admit, to find that we cited different texts. Richard Feynmann's QED, on the physics of light, is a masterwork of plain-ness making intricacy clear.I discussed this project with only two or three people, primarily the poet Ronald Johnson,now dead, whose poems are a hidden glory of literature--particularly his long sequence ARK,which I feel is a psalm of the future. It is to his memory that I dedicate these notes,scattered as they are.
"In the beginning, God created the Heaven and the Earth,And the earth was without form and voidand the darkness was upon the face of the deepand the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the watersAnd God said, Let there be light; and there was light.And God saw the light, that it was good;and God divided the light from the darkness,And God called the light Day and the darkness He called NightAnd the evening and the morning were the first day." (Genesis 1-5 in the King James Version)
"In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the word was God,The same was in the beginning with God All things were made by him and without him was not anything made that was made.In Him was life and the life was the light of men, And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehendeth it not. (The Gospel of St. John 1-5 in the King James version)
AKNATON'S HYMN TO THE SUN
Creator of germ in woman,maker of seed in man,giving life to the son in the body of his mothersoothing him that he may not weep,nurse even in the wombgiver of breath to animate everyone that he maketh! ...How manifold are thy works!They are hidden from before us O sole God, whose powers no other possesseth.Thou did create the earth according to thy heart. (14 century BC)
FROM THE CHANDOGYA UPANISHAD
There is a light that shines beyond all things on earth,beyond us all, beyond the heavens,beyond the highest, the very highest heavens;this is the light that shines in our heart.All the universe is in truth Brahman. He is thebeginning and end in life of all. As such,in silence, give unto Him adoration.There is a spirit that is mind and life, lightand truth and vast space. He unfolds the whole universeand in silence is loving all.This is the spirit that is in my heart, smallerthan a grain of mustard seed, greater than the earth,greater than the heavens, greater than all those worlds.He contains all works and desires,all perfumes and tastes.This is the spirit in my heart. This is Brahman.To Him I shall come when I go beyond this life.And to Him will come he who has faith and doubts not. (800 BC)