"When a person is ready to acknowledge an image as a living partner in dialogue for the first time, it often goes something like this:
"(Speaking to a picture) 'I don't know what you mean. You're a puzzle I can't solve. What do your symbols and colors mean?'
"This challenge to the image sounds like interrogation. It suggests that the person doing the talking is still operating from the vantage point of translating pictures into concepts. The imaginative discourse has not yet begun.
"James Hillman says, 'Do you ask the person who arrives at your door, "What do you mean?" '
"In extending hospitality, we greet the person, spend time together, talk, enjoy each other's company and afterward feel enriched or ensouled by the visit. Can't we extend this courtesy to the images we make?
"Solving a picture is not likely to open the soul. As Jung said, 'the bird is flown,' when we try to explain an image. The 'puzzle perspective' on art keeps us stuck in our heads. Even when this process is moving in a lively way, it is still little more than mental gymnastics.
"Rather than interrogating images and trying to decipher 'what they mean,' I suggest welcoming them and simply reflecting on their expressive qualities, saying something about what we see and how we feel in their presence. When someone begins to talk with pictures in this more intimate way, the conversation moves from the head to the heart."