Literally. Yesterday as I was traveling to my favorite meadow for a walk in the glorious sunshine I noticed a road going off to my left that I'd never seen before. What made me see it then? Was it that I was really looking at how the snow was melting around the tree trunks and creating pools of dark contrast to the landscape? Maybe. Because what I was doing was really seeing because I was really looking. You laugh. But I think it may be like the practice of meditation. The point of it is to be still. Not to try to do anything. And in that stillness you really connect to something sweet. I think looking, really looking for more than a few seconds, is the key to seeing. Of course seeing is very important to me. The capacity to see things in new ways is one of the most important tools I have as a painter. I've collected books on this subject too! Here are some that I have found to be very rich in insights about seeing.
|The Art Spirit by Robert Henri|
If you've ever stood in front of a painting by Robert Henri you will know what his book is about. He captures the spirit of his subject. He said "There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to see beyond the usual. Such are the moments of our greatest happiness. Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom."
|Secret Knowledge by David Hockney|
David Hockney did an extensive research project to explore his theory that at a certain point in the flow of Western art, artists began to employ the use of a camera lucida, and other optical devices to create their paintings and drawings. John Berger's classic Ways of Seeing is about how we look at paintings.
|The Pleasure of Beholding by Eulalia Bosch|
This is another book about looking at art. Here is a quote from the book that gets to the heart of the matter: "To contemplate, to behold something, is an activity in which the space and time of the senses are mixed with the space and time of reflection. Sensations reveal ideas, and a fleeting intuition comes to be embodied in a shape, a colour, a glimpse of that which the work seems to suggest".