Volume 2. Chapter 12. Dimensions


At the bottom of the sea fantastic forms illustrate grotesque growth, bountiful decay, and accidental miracles.


Crows inhabit the landscape. They perch on roofs, call from walls, and own opportunities like seeds with feathers. Ingenious and cruel, crows are masters of trees, masters of hills and yards, and at home in the sky, whether dark or light.

Growth on stone

Random surfaces of stone are softened and given hues. Lichens and wildflowers make themselves a home.

Theater of the strange

In the theater of the strange, meaning arises from randomness but nothing is accidental. Ladders, pennants, trapeze, puppets, clowns, acrobats, lights, scarecrow, chair. Poles have roots, artists twirl, and props float into the air to grab our attention.


A rubbing from a temple stone would not show such lines or suggest that the elephant leads a knight who’s blind. Like lines a magnet makes in iron shavings, they’re connected.


Houseflies horseflies fruitflies trace loops in the air like wings.

Carnival in the mountains

Acrobats and jugglers are out of place, out of phase, far from pleasing anyone. Planes have shifted, complications interpose as performers pause and pose for portraits. Impossibilities tease those whose livelihood is performing the seemingly impossible. Stumps merge with stools. Mountains merge with circus props. Trees merge with balancing bars.


A pearl grows from an irregular grain into a sphere. As a vegetable grows, layers and loops appear out of necessity to form leaves, blossoms, seeds. The manner of growth is the key, not a design for the finished fruit.


Flames flicker currents of hot gases rising as they expand from their sources, brief, inanimate, and allegorical existence.

Ship at port

Sails and smokestacks dominate the port. Ship II C is splayed at dock like a beached whale but with accouterments— lifeboats, a large ventilator, smokestack, cargo boom, and a sailor carrying cases.


This looks at first like a pile of rocks but then we see the object edges are interwoven. Each seemingly random shape and position has gotten this way by a natural process.


A nasal pendulum swings across its face. Parts of its body are constructed from the shapes of petals, leaves, and stalks of tulips. Plot plans, digging sticks, bulbs or maybe eyes lay about. An arm dips into its chest, as if to reach its heart.


An itch begs a scratch. Two scratches make a ribbon and you can make anything out of sticks and ribbons.


Devils and angels are here at the turning of the year. Luminous moon and chicken foot are portents to be divined. We start with the obvious and your responses guide us.

Puppet workshop

Body parts are strewn about in the puppet workshop. Each part is recognizable and has strong associations. They can still be tied together, re-costumed, and reanimated.

Hanging on

A basket hangs from a balloon, high in the dark gray sky. One man hangs on the ropes and one man hangs over the side. Below them, homes and trees huddle together on a hillside.


Performers and freaks at the fair play in their own orchestra. The man who makes animals by twisting long balloons plays a brass horn. The escape artist plays strings. The little juggler is on drums. The Pipette Man from Corsica plays the piccolo. Lura the trapeze artist is on the harp. The bearded lady plays tuba. The ringmaster, of course, who looks like a giant nutcracker, conducts them like a puppeteer.


The devil is a juggler. He can juggle anything. Sometimes you can’t tell whether he’s here or there because he’s juggling everything at once. He juggles on one foot; he juggles while he runs. It seems he has many arms keeping many balls in the air. He isn’t trying to be amusing. Blood is splattered all around and he never drops a ball.

Mannequin with props

A few shapes arranged make an artist’s mannequin. The mannequin is dancing naked with the teacup and the lamp, the pennant, pens, and pencils, the ink pot and the candlestick. The props make the mannequin.


Line, tonality, and color are dimensions. Any patch of a design has all three— inseparable, integrated, and part of a whole. Creativity, proportion, and technique as well as many other such aspects are all ways of looking at the same whole. We only can use words, one at a time— merely sequences and juxtapositions— but the thing we are after is the whole.


Sparse figures tell a story, but here, like the man running over the burlap, we are getting ahead of ourselves.


Rhythmical and untrammeled, the dancer adds a fifth dimension to the square.

Internal vision

We often look, professionally, intently, or accidentally past the surface of anything that concerns us. A mechanic diagnoses the cause of a knocking engine. A doctor diagnoses the reason for a painful symptom. Traditionally, the study of anatomy was required for artists as well as for doctors and yoga teachers. A jockey looks at the whole horse inside and out. He doesn’t only look at the teeth. A thing’s internal aspects have external significance. Otherwise, what is it doing in there?