Volume 1. Chapter 13. Tensions


One’s gaze moves like a deer grazing or looking to graze, moving nearer to evaluate an object of interest, moving away to gain a bettter perspective. In grazing, we move as what we see is moving and changing.

Aspects of freedom

Where you are not looking is needing to be seen. Opportunity and danger are aspects of the deal, so we train for pleasures and avoidance of pain.

Tightrope walker

The crowd below him isn’t waiting for nothing nor wanting him to fail. His footing is secure. His situation looks more tenuous from below. He balances cost and gain, confidence and fear, and these never even out.

Asymmetrical balance

A simple scale operates against gravity to balance physical weights, which have corollaries. Shapes introduce unbalanced forces that a combination of elements may restore but without needing to be symmetrical. Sizes, lightnesses, and colors may be arranged to balance elements of a painting while suggesting movement.

Centers of gravity

I pry apart the scene using levers and fulcrums. Nothing remains whole. The chair I’m sitting on separates into pieces, showing me its workings, but I don’t fall, since I and my world are balanced as though on the edge of a knife.


Each eye is a half-moon; the nose the slope of a tree. The brow is the shore of a sea and hair blows over it as waves. At the bottom of the chin, a ladder reaches only halfway to the teeth, so that the artist never achieves perfect identity.

Stone arches

A Roman viaduct is a pile of stones that form a channel for a river in the sky. The river at the top runs downhill over arches. Each interlocked stone would fall if it were alone.

A man standing

A man must balance in order to stand. It isn’t muscle against gravity but muscular adjustments to maintain a center of gravity over his linkage of bones. Sitting, he still must balance but only from hip to head. The inner ear informs the nervous system when to make adjustments, so a man doesn’t have to think about it. If he faints, he falls.


On a white background, dark colors develop energy so have more weight; however, on a dark background, white develops all the energy. Fog reflects headlights; on the road, up close, the rail is luminous. A window of a cottage appears lighted inside the night.