It’s very hard to lose the illusion of what it is you think you see

The Turquoise DoorHave you ever seen an artist squint or make a shape like a box with her fingers?

She’s trying to really see . . .  instead of see what she thinks she sees.

You see the brain is very good at putting things in categories–like this is a person, that is a tree, that is a sunset, that is a coffee cup. Not so much at really seeing what is coming in through those magnificent rods and cones of ours.

I think most of art is really about seeing–colors, shapes, whites and lights that connect through the atmosphere–the same for the darks.–seeing shapes and darks and lights rather than objects.

The trick is to letting the left brain do it’s job by helping you lay down the drawing, the composition, generally the colors and then letting go and allowing the right brain to see in a different way.  This is hard to describe, but my favorite part of painting.

Actually my very favorite part is when I am 3/4 of the way through with a painting and I allow my brain to go on vacation and I lay down brush strokes strictly by instinct all over the painting–it’s a delightful playful part that often brings the painting to life and gives it an integrated, all hanging together, sort of look.

If you want to practice trying to really see, practice by looking at shadows. I think our brain wants shadows to be grey, but really shadows are so many different colors. I love the bluish purple shadows that appear on sidewalks and pathways and roads and especially on the beach.

And look, really look at white flowers and see if you can see the different tones of refracted light on the parts that are a little darker–could be a yellowish greenish color or even an aqua.  Noticing the color of shadows is one of my favorite hobbies. 😉

Challenge:  Look at the shadows around you  and let us know how many colors you see today!  😉

Author: Margaret Huntley Harrison

I’m a painter using my gifts to transform the seemingly ordinary into the beautiful and extraordinary. What I love more than anything is tracking down, creating, and spreading the beauty in our amazing world! And I LOVE helping you find and spread your beauty into your home, your family and your world. Art for sale: fineartamerica.com Margaret Huntley Harrison

3 thoughts on “It’s very hard to lose the illusion of what it is you think you see”

  1. I love how you describe seeing! Its one of the hardest things I am trying to teach in my drawing for non-majors class. They have to trust what they see, but really listen to the information their brain is getting.

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