Since early childhood I have always been fascinated by the gift of sight and the complexities of interpreting what we each see through our own filters and experiences. The saying that ‘beauty is in the eyes of the beholder’ says much but also comes up extremely short experientially.
If we examine the act of ‘seeing’ we are presented with the physical eyes that are subjected to all of the laws of nature namely refraction, reflection, space, and all other elements visible light presents to us. It is the processing through the eyes the nature and quality of the light spectrum upon the objects it defines that makes each of us unique.
Artists, in my view,have the ability to transcend the functional ability to see and develop ‘a way’ to see that allows for something beyond the physical facts. If we go to the studio and put a nice round ‘red’ tomato on a table and begin to translate it onto canvas or paper an additional visual ability begins to kick in that the average person will never experience on their own. This is the gift artists offer the world at the core.
If I ask what color do you see the tomato to be with your physical eyes you will obviously say red or green. But if I say close your eyes and visual’ize’ that tomato as blue you will instantly see the blue tomato in your mind’s eye. We now have connected the physical eye to the mind’s eye. This is the place of creative magic and limitless possibility. It is fascinating to me that great artists have the ability to ‘see’ in a way most others do not. It leaves you with a sense of ‘why didn’t I think of that or see it that way.’
I can imagine Picasso looking at a typical bicycle and finding a bull’s head within it. So amazingly simple it becomes genius. But somehow he saw it. No one else could and why didn’t I think of that? I think the challenge for all artists is the development of ‘learning to see.’ Reducing our visual prejudices, rising above the indoctrination of our formal educations and opening a door into that limitless world of ideas and beauty. While much can be written about the intricacies of this learning process we each might just want to be deliberately aware of what it is we do when we step in front of the easel or lump of clay or whatever.
The thing that great artists come to is ‘seeing’ in a different way and also having the ability to translate that ‘seeing’ into something physical that others can encounter in a significant way. Beauty is in our capacity to visual ‘ize’. Our eyes are the portal and our imagination the soul to something e