THE RYDER STUDIO
Blue Teapot, oil on panel, 6x10, Anthony Ryder, 2000
Ted said that, through the identity of the mind and its contents, whatever we concentrate on we ourselves become. If the object of concentration manifests harmony, integrity, clarity and brilliance, these qualities are imparted to the consciousness. Concentration brings this about by gathering the attention together as a magnifying glass gathers rays of sunlight, into a one pointed meditation. A scattered mind is pointless and directionless, dissipating the energy of awareness, whereas when the powers of comprehension are focused understanding is amplified.
Ted said further that the form of the body is profoundly organized and unified, that its parts, though seemingly separate, are not apart from one another. Rather they are inalienably fused and joined together. Moreover, the form of the body is beyond simply unified and organized. Due to its genetic blueprint it is exactly self consistent, as each and every form comes into being with all the other forms of the body, in a perfect harmony of proportions. Nothing is either larger or smaller, longer or shorter than it should be. The same is true of all natural forms: animals and plants, rivers and mountains, atoms and galaxies. Harmony is inherent in all scales of being, from the least to the greatest.
Additionally, the light in which we see the figure is perfectly proportionate. It is coordinated at every point in space, giving rise to a unified field of vision. The Poster is the name Ted gave to this aspect of visual experience, its integrated tonal oneness. No tonality (hue, value, chromatic intensity) is out of place in the poster. The tonality at each point is a function of several conditions: the color, strength and size of the light, the distance of the point from the light source, the angle of the surface toward or away from the light source, the local color of the surface, the glossiness or matteness, translucency or opacity of the surface, the substance (skin, hair, cloth, metal, glass, etc.), and the influence of the other tonalities in the space. When properly executed, the poster study is a portrait of the shining of the light in the pictorial field.
Light is the medium and substance of vision. All that we see is light. The outward aspect of the objects of vision is what we experience visually rather than their inward essential being. We may know that an apple is crispy and sweet, that it has a certain weight and temperature, but these are properties we cannot see. Our eyes are able only to tell us its appearance, its shape and tonality, as we perceive it through the agency of the light. We must learn to see the light and not confuse it with symbols and preconceived ideas.
Light arises from a source; it isn't just hanging around like the air. A line drawn from the light source to the object gives us the light direction as it relates to the object. The gradation of tones are oriented on the object according to the light direction and the form of the object. This knowledge is the basis for all modeling or rendering of the form in light and shadow.
The knowledge of these and other principles of form and light is the essence of Ted's teachings. The enlightenment of this knowledge comes with guided practice, keeping the teachings at the forefront of consciousness while drawing and painting. The acquisition of this knowledge and way of drawing/painting changes the work of art and the artist, imparting as mentioned above, harmony, integrity, clarity and brilliance to both. Those who subsequently see the art appreciate and are edified by these qualities in both as well. Those who study together this way generate a field of refined sensitivity in which all share, experiencing peace in a place of safety and tranquility.