*This mini blog series has the same intro followed by a memory that has informed my painting practice.
While your performing some skill do you ever ask your self how you know what you know? Where do these instincts come from?
Maybe it's more subtle than that; like those passing flurry of thoughts and memories that occur while your painting, singing, dancing, calculating, judging, deliberating, or whatever it may be. I think most of us know that kind of "no-mind" or "state flow" one gets when they are feeling creative but I want to make an ode of appreciation to the lessons that keep us there.
What interests me today is the bubbling memories that consistently float to the top; that which reminds me how to paint. This process illustrates that patchwork of experience that makes us who we are but also how we know do to what we do so instinctually. Todays article is a list of the most tangible memories, people and things I can remember ultimately teaching me how to paint. Maybe this list can be a helpful reminder for you, the reader, that lessons come from anywhere and that we are taught art by listening to life, conversation, ideas and experiences. But honestly make of it what you will, Long as it helps.
I don't consider myself talented, just lucky enough to have great a education from individuals, experiences and things that allow me to paint the way I do. Thanks to each of these people and things for allowing me to accomplish each part of what I do.
The Glasses- Clouds have shapes?!
For chronologies sake I would like to thank this inanimate object. I guess it is more about a series of glasses I have used while I have aged but naturally the most impactful is the first pair.
I didn't get glasses till I was maybe 10 or 12 but I probably had seeing problems since younger. It just took some teacher that long to notice I couldn't see the board she wrote on. Part of the problem was not complaining much or expressing myself as a child. Maybe some of you know the feeling of your first pair of glasses and that incredible alteration of perception that comes with it.
You have to realize, that originally, for the seeing impaired at that age, we think the world is fuzzy. Aside from grass being much clearer or tall adults and things coming into focus the first thing I remember well is looking out the window and discovering clouds were more than boring cotton wads. They had valleys, wispy bits, mass and texture.
One of the first things I began to wonder was how did I function adequately before having glasses? I mean the teacher didn't notice though I couldn't tell you if that was ineptitude or not. This made me realize we don't need near half of the information we think we are processing in our eyes in order to perceive.
Hell, as a kid a lot of people didn't have eyes. I knew they were there but couldn't make them out past the shadowy crevasses of their eye sockets. One should be aware seeing is mostly just fill in and guess work by the mind. Science even tells us we are actually seeing only about a thumbs sized worth of accurate detail in our sight line. It just appears more since are eyes dart everywhere in order to put the puzzle together. Colour shapes, fuzzy or not, are a key part of of judging distance, depth or structure.
Like some sort of life hack this consistently reminds me I don't need to paint a bunch of details for the illusion to work. We are thankfully so much simpler and most know how messed up our visual artwork gets if we get lost in the details before setting up the basic shapes. Seeing is a patchwork of colour shapes affected by shadow and light. I find the fuzzy renderings of initial paintings similar to how I saw things as a child and just this is often enough to inform most of the wide world beyond the picture.