The Law Of Psychic Phenomena - online book

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58          THE LAW OF PSYCHIC PHENOMENA.
denly presented himself on the field, and by this uncourteous in-, trusion marred the studies of the painter for that day. . . . Blake was a visionary," continues our author, " and thought his fancies real; he was mad."
The writer once knew an artist who had the power to enter the subjective condition at will; and in this state he could cause his visions to be projected upon the canvas before him. He declared that his mental pictures thus formed were perfect in detail and color, and all that he had to do to fix them was to paint the corresponding colors over the subjective picture. He, too, thought his fancies real; he believed that spirits projected the pictures upon the canvas.
The foregoing cases represent a class of artists whose subjective faculties are uncontrolled by the objective mind, an abnormal condition, which, if it found expression in words instead of pigments, would stamp the subject as a candidate for the lunatic asylum.
Fortunately, most artists have their fancies more under control; or, more properly speaking, they are aware that their visions are evoked by their own volition. This power varies with different individuals, but all true artists possess it in a greater or less degree. An extraordinary manifestation of this power is reported by Combe. The artist was noted for the rapidity of his work, and was extremely popular on account of the fidelity of his portraits, and especially because he never required more than one sitting of his patron. His method, as divulged by himself, was as follows :
" When a sitter came, I looked attentively on him for half an hour, sketching from time to time on the canvas. I did not require a longer sitting. I removed the canvas and passed to another person. When I wished to continue the first portrait, I recalled the man to my mind. I placed him on the chair, where I perceived him as distinctly as though really there, and, I may add, in form and color more decidedly brilliant. I looked from time to time at the imaginary figure, and went on painting, occasionally stopping to examine the picture exactly as though the original were before me; whenever I looked towards the chair I saw the man."