The Spaces In-Between

9 Jun

Many years ago I bought a ceramic plaque for my sister.  It was whimsical–had a figure dancing on a mountainside and the inscription read something like “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.”  This thought was with me when I awoke this a.m.  But not quite this thought–more like “the magic happens in the in- between.”  In that place some have called “the gap.”  As in the moment between inhale and exhale.  That place where thoughts vanish.  Where all is well.  Where time doesn’t exist–is not measured by seconds–but is measured by some mysterious sense of empty space.

As I was washing out scarves from yesterday’s printing, this was on my mind.  This idea of the space in-between–and in this washing out process, the drying, the ironing, my vision shifted.  Usually I’m studying the impression of leaves–did they print?  how well? outstanding characteristics?  If you are a recorder of leaves, you know the drill, right?

But this morning my focus had shifted.  I was not so interested in the leaf shapes as in the spaces in-between the leaves.  The unplanned places.  The myriad areas that evolved on their own.  I guess some refer to this as “negative space?”  I’m not sure.But for me these spaces in-between are like portals into another realm.  They are not literal the way leaf prints can be.  Their form is unexpected, unstructured, amorphous.  And yet full of such richness and magic.

I was still contemplating this as I gazed out the kitchen windows at the woods across the road.  Without my glasses and by softly altering my gaze, the same thing happened.  The tree leaves formed delineated areas of green, but for me the mystery was in the shadows.IMG_3701  Studying eco prints, I see the same pattern–and find I’m actually having to make an effort to see the leaf prints rather than the space in between.



Walking through the house, my eye focuses on the floor rug.  Not at the dominant pattern but at the spaces in-between.  In a bit I have to get in my car.  Drive in traffic.  Unless this visual filter falls by the wayside, it should be an interesting ride.




8 Responses to “The Spaces In-Between”

  1. Mo Crow June 9, 2017 at 1:46 pm #

    one of my favourite drawing exercises


  2. Alexis Moore January 21, 2018 at 9:53 am #

    I do trust all the ideas you’ve offered on your post. They’re very convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are too short for novices. May you please extend them a bit from subsequent time? Thank you for the post.


    • Anonymous January 21, 2018 at 5:11 pm #

      Hi Alexis. I do appreciate your comment but I’m afraid I don’t really understand what you mean by “the posts are too short for novices.”


  3. Janie Suarez January 21, 2018 at 3:49 pm #

    You can certainly see your expertise in the paintings you write. The sector hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.


    • Patricia January 21, 2018 at 5:13 pm #

      Thank you Janie. I totally agree that “following one’s heart “ is incredibly important.


  4. AnnIsikArts February 11, 2018 at 7:18 am #

    Reblogged this on Poetic Mapping: Walking Into Art and commented:
    I’m re-blogging this as I’m also pondering and writing about ‘negative space’ on my blog right now – and trying to develop artwork with that as a focus. So nice to have ‘found’ you Patricia and your wonderfully insightful blog. Ann 🙂


    • Patricia April 22, 2018 at 6:27 pm #

      So sorry I’ve just returned to the land of blog! Thank you for your kind words which I’m reading now for the first time.


      • AnnIsikArts April 23, 2018 at 6:13 am #

        I’m having an hiatus from blogging, too. No apologies needed. 🙂


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