Volume 2. Chapter 14. Pictorial means


With only one dimension, a line exists only in the mind but we may exaggerate edges and borders and paint them thick using a brush wet with color.


The edges are meant to thrust intruders away, like a maze no one can enter. You must start at the face, but no path leads to safety.


Newton’s infinitesimal and the simplest atom, even the smallest part of an atom, are more than dimensionless locations but move along definite lines adding up to worlds and orbiting galaxies.

In the dark

Dark bark in dark soil deep in the dark woods is either comforting or threatening. No one could harm you, but, if you were harmed, no one could rescue you.


In the struggle between black and white, natural formations of cliffs and dunes form from individual, nondescript grains. Each atom, each pixel is combined, so that cyan, magenta, and yellow collect, balance, and contrast to make an ocean, a continent, a coastline.

Sand and sunsets

When cities are constructed of sand, they have the colors of sand and sunsets.

Resetting normal

After a while, you ignore the constant drone and the faint gray. You judge everything from its difference from normal.

Gradual autumn

Each day brings a thousand gradations, each leaf a thousand colors until blue skies and green turn to gray and golden.


We play with foregrounds and backgrounds, but we don’t give anything away, except for a slice of lemon. Fields of color, colored dots, and lines creating forms with neither insides nor outsides keep you busy with trivialities. Your eye has nowhere to rest.

North Sea

Being indistinct makes it seem more vast, but it’s beyond the limit of vision anyway, even in the best weather. It’s impossible to comprehend its danger and its beauty. We can only smile and pile up platitudes.


The orange sky is more lovely in contrast with blue waters. A pyramid pierces the sky, higher than the setting sun. The waters of the Nile lay brilliantly under layers of brown.

Magic act

Puppets of magic appear to pull the strings. Figments of fantasy are inimical to control. No predicting, no balancing, only strange surprises. The magician becomes a creature of his own act.

Mountain castle

It’s impossible to distinguish the mountain from the castle. One was made by God, the other by agents who claimed to be His. Always we look for signs, which could be a window or a ledge for a bird nest.


The small tiles are not the story. We don’t look at the wall; we look at the vista it depicts. Nature has arranged horizontals and shades of blue and green, tan, brown, orange, and gold and we can’t help being affected.

Garden of sepia and gray

Sepia and gray, you wouldn’t think, would compose a garden, however cool and dry. This garden grows between mountains and an ocean shore. It grows in a studio, or on a cutting-room floor.


The sections of this landscape have slid into place. Cliffs and plains in geological layers. A grand vista that trees in the distance don’t interrupt.


Tensions will be resolved but problems never solved.


Air intrudes and earth protrudes. A boundary appears only at a distance.


If you press the sustain pedal, then the tones of a musical scale overlap, but, otherwise, they overlap in your mind. Some tones, some instruments, seem to have rounder edges; others are more angular, some closer, others further apart. In a composition, different instruments play together, creating harmonies or dissonances, or they play apart, creating polyphonic harmonies and dissonances in pursuit of separate melodic lines.


From individual molecules, randomly arranged, crystals grow until they meet, crazy like a crazy quilt, growing a layer at a time, each part with the same angles.

Inverse logic

Plants that bloom at night attract pollinators of the night, pillars of inverse logic, but inescapably logical.

Triangular drums

Timpani, tuned kettle drums, provide basic orientations, as if icebergs at the poles were aligned with latitudes.


A simple example of varying tones, where tighter, lighter, unravelling in translation.

From stone

From a crack in a stone, the green stalk of a flower. From its stone crescent, the moon’s golden blossom.


The sky, the sea, and the shore with beach and cliffs a small sailboat and its thin mast interrupts.


The world exists as a set of contrasts. Red is merely how we see a berry on a green bush. When a canal boat traverses a canal that cuts across layered fields, it can disappear.


First we establish a pattern. Patterns build expectations. Progress is the perception of gradual and expected completion.

Ancient fabric

The fabric was woven in ancient times, like a papyrus mat, but in many colors. We found it on a wall in a farmhouse bedroom. We found a copy of it in a painting at the Louvre. The fabric sings of our common humanity, before tribes and races were established.


Blowing pigments around a handprint in a cave wall. Playing a musical scale, in a single key, to hear differences in pitch. Staccato, legato, chiaroscuro, sfumato.

Plan for a castle

If you rotate a rectangle, shifting it about your page, while tracing its borders you start to see the mountain that it’s built on, stone on stone.


Staring through the water, people become what they see, swimming with their eyes.


Pay attention to nuances. A hint can lead to the heart. Where the eye moves more quickly your hope may be waiting.


On the macro scale, life swarms. The eyes have it, transparent, while fins slip past, shimmering, and scales weigh in the balance.


Groups of individual movements combine to form interesting paths under the viaduct. On top, individuals must stay aligned with its up or downward slope.


Petal is distinguishable from leaf. The vase is distinguishable from the table. Lines everywhere align and intersect. Planes fold and unfold.


Wealth and virtue don’t always go together. Wealth and beauty, truth and beauty, might not, as claimed, agree. They say that opposites attract. This isn’t funny in a humorous way.

Winter contrasts

Icy peaks, angular and white, rise starkly behind a struggling black conifer.


The inventor glows, or that’s his invention, something so simple that it can be reduced to geometric lines, circles, and planes.

Body parts

He’s not all there, though some might say he has all he needs.


Each fight or dance has a scheme it makes as seen from all perspectives. No two participants can be in the same place at the same time but may connect as toe to toe or hand to hand.

Not unexpected

Eventually, a person looks like the person he or she becomes. Features crystalize like Roman numerals in stone. The crazy old man or woman never does anything unexpected.


Inside its cube is a hallway. At the end of this hallway is a mirror. You may experience the illusion that your life has bounds, but many interior lines continue transparently across exteriors.

Briar root

The root of a briar grows thick and gnarled, tougher than an athlete’s abs or the skull of Paranthropus robustus. Twisted fibers replicate sinews of curious reason. It had been alive, but now it only seems to crawl toward you.


Imagination of colors affects images of cypress and moth wings in the dark. Cypress, round hills, and something like a human form take shapes but don’t hold firmly to them.


Every artist learns where to start but some never learn where to stop.