What Does “Inward Morning” Mean?

by Kara Ruth Snyder in Miscellaneous

Welcome to my new art blog  for my new website: Inward Morning!  Want to hear about the title?

 Kara Ruth Snyder, Figure in Square, acrylic and pastel on canvas, 36 x 36″.  2007.
I’d like to talk about the title of my website, Inward Morning,  and give you a little background as to why I chose this title.  This discussion will reveal a personal statement of some key components in my art process.  Topics covered include: Art Making as a Form of Being at Home, and Art Making Captures Physical and Symbolic Light. 

Inward Morning: A Statement about Kara Ruth Snyder’s Art 

The phrase “Inward Morning” means many things to me.  First and foremost, this was the name given to the house I grew up in by my father – back in 1973.  He borrowed the name from a book by author Henry Bugbee entitled The Inward Morning:  A Philosophical Exploration of Journal Form.  Also, writer and poet Henry David Thoreau has written a beautiful poem called The Inward Morning (see below for this poem in its entirety).  I find this poem alludes to the balance between the internal and external worlds of the artistic process very nicely.
I’ve heard within my inmost soul 

Such cheerful morning news, 
In the horizon of my mind 

Have seen such orient hues 

(excerpt from The Inward Morning by Henry David Thoreau) 

  So, why am I using it as a title to my website?  Three reasons:  (1) The obvious connection to one of my favorite poems by Henry David Thoreau;  (2) the connection to my childhood, the metaphor of “house” and “home” and how they relate to my artwork; and (3) The individual words – in and of themselves – “inward” and “morning” (both separately and together) incite associations for me personally and relate to what is meaningful in my painting process, i.e., the concepts of At-Homeness and Physical and Symbolic Light.

Art making as a form of “being at home” 

The fact that my dad named our house made it special.  My childhood home was a seemingly magical place with many nooks and crannies.  There was always opportune environments for creative imaginings in my home.  Needless to say, the physical house of my upbringing had powerful visual and psychological influences on me and subsequently my art.  My father, too, has been a strong influence on my artistic development.  Although he passed away when I was 15, he crammed a lifelong love of art into my soul.  Each year for my birthday I would receive a new art book from my dad, often in other languages than English!  I love these books and still use them for inspiration frequently.
In essence, through art, I have made the transition from being at home in a literal sense, to being at home in-the-world.  The word “inward” implies at-homeness to me.  It denotes safety and refuge, and at times, escape.  I also picture the image of a doorway…a passage way…a gateway…a portal into the aspect of human imagination and creativity.  

Art making captures physical and symbolic light

Now that we have looked at the word “inward”, let us turn our attention to the word “morning”.  “Morning” means “new light” to me.  It implies awakening, dawn, birth, newness, etc.  In the world of things, we need light to distinguish one object from another.  In fact, we need physical light to even have this discussion (or any other) about visual art!  In a symbolic or spiritual sense, art making relies, too, on “going inward’ to harness the light of our own inner spirit.  

In vain I look for change abroad, 
And can no difference find, 
Till some new ray of peace uncalled 

Illumes my inmost mind.  
(excerpt from The Inward Morning by Henry David Thoreau) 
I seek this inner light, inner balance, inner color through the practice of meditation and the art process itself….rolling up my sleeves  and getting messy with some paint!  In the end, the “light” always seems to make its mark on the canvas.

Henry David Thoreau’s “The Inward Morning”

Below is the entire poem for you to enjoy. 

The Inward Morning 
Packed in my mind lie all the clothes
Which outward nature wears, 
And in its fashion’s hourly change 
It all things else repairs. 
In vain I look for change abroad, 
And can no difference find, 
Till some new ray of peace uncalled 
Illumes my inmost mind. 

What is it gilds the trees and clouds, 
And paints the heavens so gay, 
But yonder fast-abiding light 
With its unchanging ray? 

Lo, when the sun streams through the wood, 
Upon a winter’s morn, 
Where’er his silent beams intrude, 
The murky night is gone. 

How could the patient pine have known 
The morning breeze would come, 
Or humble flowers anticipate 
The insect’s noonday hum– 

Till the new light with morning cheer 
From far streamed through the aisles, 
And nimbly told the forest trees 
For many stretching miles? 

I’ve heard within my inmost soul 
Such cheerful morning news, 
In the horizon of my mind 
Have seen such orient hues, 

As in the twilight of the dawn, 
When the first birds awake, 
Are heard within some silent wood, 
Where they the small twigs break, 

Or in the eastern skies are seen, 
Before the sun appears, 
The harbingers of summer heats 
Which from afar he bears. 

Henry David Thoreau


In summation, the reason I chose the title Inward Morning for my website is because it captures the essence of what  art making means to me….a synthesis of inner reflection and outward seeing, both of which rely on physical and symbolic light.
I hope you enjoyed this brief explanation of my website title. Please feel free to comment or share feedback.
-Kara Ruth Snyder 

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