Wednesday, March 21, 2007

More about seeing

More thoughts on seeing as seen through the eyes of a painter.
First. seeing is a matter of observing the environment around you but not looking at things as objects- mystery you say, well read on. Of course you should realize that we have conditioned our mind over our lifetime to recognize an item or thing instantly and therefore we stop looking! To recognize something is exactly why we miss the really beautiful things in nature, the trick is to forget what we know about the subject while looking at a scene. In fact if you step back and practice as an artist does who paints en plein air you'll notice enhanced sensitivity, awareness and emotion within your everyday activities.

So how do we accomplish this elusive act of looking? The simple answer is to observe relationships of contrasting elements rather than on things.
In other words we search for the visual quality of things or the great big visual truths, recognizing its shape, how dark or light it is against other shapes, how big or small it is, how bright or dull it's color is when compared to the surrounding colors, what feeling do you get when you look at the arrangement and direction of its lines and do you see the pattern of darks created by the light within your selected scene? These are some of the tools used by artist to capture his subject matter in paint.

Being subjective while observing will cause you to interact with nature in a way unique to your creative ability, your experiences and your emotions. It’s important to capture what our eyes sees, our minds say our heart feels and causes our body to react to the subtleties in nature. Our goal is to simplify as much as possible, and be creative in what we see and feel.

We formulate paintings in shape, form, tone, color and emotion and paint our subject matter by what is in the light and what is in the shadow, what is the lightest thing in the shadow and what is the darkest thing in the light. And link them to form interesting patterns (even abstract patterns). A characteristic axiom when painting is to never make the lightest thing in shadow lighter than the darkest (lightest) thing in light. And vice versa. A thought provoking idea and a challenge to what we observe. The great coach and player Yoge Beara once said “ It’s much easier to see if you look”.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Seeing the unexpected

View of Essex Marsh

What an exhilarating feeling we get from seeing the unexpected. The problem is that beautiful things are mostly unseen because the average individual just doesn't bother to look. Nature is a great teacher to those who observe what she offers. Plein air painters or those artists who paint from life experience those rare moments of the unexpected as they view their images from their heart while they process what their eyes tell them. They are trained to express what they feel and not what they know. More later