A friend told me that he gets angry when he sees things that others don’t see. I find this fascinating because it implies that he believes he is seeing the entire picture in totality of what there is to see and that he hasn’t missed anything in the seeing. It is also interesting because he assumes that others see the same things he sees. I am a visually oriented person and also nearsighted. Before I received glasses to correct my vision, what I saw was very different than what I saw with corrective lenses. Although my friend who I spoke about above may have used the verb “to see” he may not have been referring to a physical 3-dimensional object but rather to a perception that was obvious to him. We often say, “I see” when we get something such as a concept or idea. Do you see now?
We can look at seeing (haha, I am using a seeing verb just to explain my point-of-view!) and know we all see things differently. For the sake of saving our brains from taking in too much information, we often abridge what we see. We may question what we view until we get physically closer to our subject. When closer to our subject, we may not like what we formerly saw and liked what we thought we saw further away. We may think we saw something, but not sure what we saw and in a court of law this may be questioned by prosecution. We have many ways of seeing and expressing what we see. One that pops up in my mind at this moment is, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” We see the cover and it reflects an image, but does it reflect what is written inside? Isn’t it just a marketing tool to entice us to buy the book? We also use this same phrase about people we meet, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” We don’t always know what the person is about just by looking at them do we?
Art training develops better seeing. A basic drawing class teaches perspective, proportions, contours, shading and color. An artist interprets what is seen in multiple ways. That is the creative part. The part that reveals a new way of seeing. When I begin a botanical drawing, at first I see something that draws me to it. The more time I spend looking, I see more than I did at first-details in the leaves, petals and stems. I watch the plant shift leaves and flowers daily, drooping from thirst, slowly dying. I detect subtle colors that alter and fade. I get a different “feeling” and perspective and the new seeing brings things up in me inspiring my painting, my thoughts and my relationship to my botanical subject.