Chapter 6: The Art of Archery
Look at van Gogh’s trees. They are absolutely different - you cannot find trees like that in the world of nature. They are totally different; they are van Gogh’s creations, he is living through the trees. They are not these ordinary trees around you, he has not copied them from nature, he has not copied them from anybody else. If he had been a god then he would have created those trees in the world. In the painting he is the god, he is the creator. He is not even imitating the creator of the universe; he is simply being himself. His trees are so high they grow and touch the moon and stars.
Somebody asked van Gogh, “What type of trees are these? Where did you get the idea from?”
Van Gogh said: “I don’t go getting ideas from anywhere - these are my trees! If I was the creator my trees would touch the stars, because my trees are desires of the earth, dreams of the earth - to touch the stars; earth trying to reach, to touch the stars - hands of the earth, dreams and desires of the earth.”
But these trees are not imitations. These are van Gogh trees.
A creator has something to give to the world, something he is pregnant with. Of course, even for a van Gogh technique is needed, because hands are needed. Even van Gogh cannot paint without hands - if you cut off his hands what will he do? He also needs technique, but technique is just a way to communicate. Technique is just the vehicle, the medium. The technique is not the message, the medium is not the message. The medium is simply a vehicle to carry the message. He has a message; every artist is a prophet - has to be! Every artist is a creator - has to be, he has something to share. Of course, technique is needed. If I have to say something to you, words are needed, but if I am saying only words, then there is no message; then this whole thing is just a chattering. Then I am throwing garbage on others. But if words carry my silence, if words carry my wordless message to you, only then is something being said.
When something is to be said, it has to be said in words, but that which has to be said is not words. When something has to be painted it has to be painted by colors and brush and canvas, and the whole technique is needed - but the technique is not the message. Through the medium the message is given but the medium in itself is not enough.
A technician has the medium, he may have the perfect medium, but he has nothing to deliver, he has no message. His heart is not overflowing. He is doing something with the hand and with the head, because the learning is in the head, and the know-how, the skill, is in the hand. Head and hand cooperate, but the heart remains aloof, untouched. Then painting will be there, but without a heart. There will be no beat in it, there will be no pulse of life in it, no blood will flow in it; very difficult to see - you can see only if you know the difference within yourself.