5.13.2020 – thinking abstractly

thinking abstractly
of broadway boogie woogie
musics’ pulse in life

How can you not enjoy the painting, Broadway Boogie Woogie?

You can see imagine the night lights of Broadway, the cars, the traffic, the sounds, the smells, the pulse.

The pulse of the boogie woogie music that flows through streets.

The pulse of the boogie woogie music that flows through people.

The pulse of the boogie woogie music that flows through all us.

So simple and some how so perfect.

Piet Mondrian wrote some where that he wanted to create ‘universal beauty’.

To express this, Mr. Mondrian eventually decided to limit his formal vocabulary.

Three primary colors; red, blue and yellow.

Three primary values; black, white and gray.

Two primary directions; horizontal and vertical.

I didn’t know Mr. Mondrian had all these rules.

I just enjoyed his work.

How does the abstract have rules?

Maybe sometimes its better not to know.

Better not to know all these answers.

Brave enough to come up with answers of your own.

Art and structure and rules.

I remember trying to understand something called the Ansel Adams Zone System.

It was a way to visualize photographs.

Blacks and whites where graded into zones that were numbered 1 to something on the x axis and a to something on the y axis.

Books were written on the subject.

But it never made sense to me.

Watching a documentary on Ansel Adams there was a scene of Mr. Adams and a bunch of students off in the woods.

They set up a photo and snapped a Polaroid as an establishing shot.

Something went wrong and when Mr. Adams pulled the Polaroid open, it was completely black.

Everyone laughed including Mr. Adams.

He held up the photo and said, “This is Zone1.”


In an instant, I understood.

It was black, no shades, no shadows.

It was Zone 1.

It wasn’t just black.

It was more than black.

And maybe a little less than black.

I had an Art Professor who lecture on local art and put up pictures of Calder’s le Grand Vitesse that stands in the center of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

It is also painted on all the cities’ garbage trucks.

This Professor asked all of us, what the sculpture meant.

I was so cool.

I HAD the answers.

Le Grand Vitesse meant, GREAT SWIFTNESS.

It was a representation of the water spilling over the rocks of a rapids.

The Professor nodded and the class kind of divided up with people who agreed with me and people who did not.

When he wrapped up the discussion, the Professor was asked, “WELL, who is right?”

The Professor turned to the class and with this wonderful smile/grin softly said, “I think it is what ever anyone wants it to be. That’s what makes it magic.”

Who needs answers to questions like these.

It has been a year since my nephew died.

My family gathered together online to be with my brother and his family.

Say neigh you neigh sayers but some how the power of family and extend love came through online.

It was a magic moment.

If there were 80 people together from my family, there were 80 different thoughts on what happened.

That is what made it a magic moment.

There was a pulse of the music of life.

We had a moment of silence.

My niece read something she wrote.

Then my brother talked to all of us.

He thanked us.

He thanked us, for all things, for letting them grieve.

For not trying to find answers.

For not trying to find explanations.

Sometimes its better to not have the answers.

Sometimes black can be black even when its not black.


Then maybe, its not so black.

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