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See like and Artist

Draw what you see

See Like an Artist

"Repose" John White Alexander 1895

Click here for Part 2

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Seeing like an artist means looking beyond, looking closely,

seeing in a glimpse, and studying what you see.

There are two parts to seeing like and artist:

Part 1 is seeing the vision of ideas

Part 2 is the nuts and bolts of breaking down that vision into lines, shapes, and values

Part 1

When an artist wakes up and walks outside he sees the way the light reflects off the leaves. He sees the haze hanging low over the ground. He sees how smoke in the air adds depth and creates a new atmosphere. He notices how the sunlight shimmers as it travels through the smoke. The artist sees the tree in relationship to what's around it. He sees the whole scene and only part of the scene.

He sees the composition of a group of people in front of buildings as they wait at the bus stop. The artist sees the story unfold in front of him. The story of people rising early to get to their jobs so they can earn money to feed their children. What the artist sees evokes emotion.

An impression is caught in a moments glance. Feelings are attached to that impression. Deeply held feelings and sensitive emotions.

As the artist drives home and passes the same lake she passes every day she sees a new scene each time. On one day she sees a yellow and inviting light that brings the emotion of longing. On another day she sees a deep surging green that brings feelings of turmoil and sorrow. On another day she sees a cloudy horizon that brings feelings of hope and peace.

Tall cityscapes may bring thoughts of cooperation and unity. They may bring feelings of dark foreboding or of endless action and movement.

Spring blossoms may evoke feelings of our temporal existence. They may bring to mind how delicate beauty flows in and out of our lives.

The artist is touched by what he sees around him. When he sees a group of people working in a cramped office with only one small window leaking in a miniscule amount of natural light, he thinks of atrophy, stagnation, a bound and broken spirit. He thinks of despair and heavy broken hearts. When the receptionist is short with him because he does not know the office jargon he can see the soul behind the person trapped in bleak working conditions. His heart breaks a little knowing these people live too much of their lives in a lightless, cold environment shackled to their desks by the bills they must pay month after month.

(The amazing "That's my stapler" guy from the movie Office Space) LINK!

The artist sees hope, despair, unity, oppression, beauty, filth, and boundless other things. To see as an artist, you must see more than shapes and colors, edges and lines, designs and patterns, though you must see those too. To see as an artist, you must see with your heart, you must be able to see the ideas in the things around you, and then you must be able to capture those ideas and feelings in an image in order to communicate them with others. Art is a language. One that must be learned in order to communicate visually.

Here is an example of an art alphabet created by Ed Emberley

He uses shapes, lines, dots, and scribbles to create his children's art, but more than that he uses these to communicate his ideas.

The alphabet you choose can be simple or complex as long as it communicates your ideas successfully.

What the artist sees brings out in him the desire to communicate feelings and ideas. Give what you see a voice. Experience life in all its multitude of thoughts, and emotions and let that give your art life.

The artist immerses herself in life through a wide spectrum of visual and emotional experiences. She translates those experiences into images that communicate to the world her thoughts, ideas, feelings, and emotions. The writer does it with words. The musician with rhythm and melody. The artist shares the intangible with the world. The artist translates those impossible thoughts and feelings so others can experience and understand. Art is experiencing, it's understanding, and it's communicating. To create great art, you must first experience it by living.

- Part 2 the Nuts and Bolts of seeing like an Artist

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