The hard part of drawing is to actually see the things you’re looking at. Your idea of a tree, a mountain, a person, will tend to devolve into symbol. You are constantly lured into seeing through your brain, by abstraction, rather than through your eye. But the wild, absurd, incredible fact of a thing in itself is always more than you can grasp.
Which brings us back again to that most underrated movement of the twentieth century, the philosophy of phenomenology, the idea that life is made up of les minutes heureuses. And the notion that in a world no longer illumined by God or reason, all attempts to reduce its infinite variety (the universe, experience) to concepts, ideas or essences — whether religious or scientific, whether they involve the “soul” or “nature” or “particles” or the “afterlife” — diminish the actual variety of reality which is part, and maybe the biggest part, or even the whole, of its meaning.
…What Valéry and Husserl were both trying to urge on us is a denial of the view that the particular is somehow less consequential than the general. “In giving our attention to the particular, we fear the risk of fixing ourselves upon an exception to the rule; art by its nature is existential; it is concerned with particulars, while rationalism is interested only in their relationships.” Husserl, in the words of Sartre, “has given back to us the world of artists and prophets.” However we approach life, however we deal with it, life will always keep changing and remain beyond the reach of total understanding. We can never formulate an “exhaustive” explanation in such a way that our quest or our responsibility is “at an end.”