Day 39 – Seeing Beyond

January 17, 2015

(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th year where I write and illustrate a blog on each day's gift.)
My vision of a flapjack succulent plant.
One of my images is hanging in the Highlandtown Gallery with 100 artists and today I had an opportunity to give an artist talk there on "Seeing Beyond [reality]."

I believe that we seldom see exactly what is in front of our eyes. Sometimes an artist creates an image that stretches reality and how we see it.  Connie Imboden has created two fascinating photo series, one using pieces of mirrors in her studio and another showing people and reflections in water. One of her photos is on the cover of the latest issue of Little Patuxent literary magazine, an issue about food. Her photo is not one of food but, as Debby Rippey wrote in an article about the cover art, the photo emits a quality of hunger and thirst. “…if you want to explore food, you must first examine your own hunger and thirst.”

To anything we look at, we bring our own physical acuity or limitations, of course, but even more so, we bring our own selective focus, feelings, shapes and angles, metaphors and imagination.

When I was bored in elementary school, I used to play with my fingers. I would see a third “hot dog” floating fingertip when I pointed my index fingers at one another without touching and when I relaxed my focus at the same time. This is because of the stereo element of seeing one subject with two eyes that are positioned apart from one another.  In my college dorm, we had shower stalls with canvas curtains, which became splotched with water spots.  In these spots, I saw people and animal shapes and took extra long showers luxuriating in pareidolia. Just look up on a sunny day with puffy clouds. What do you see in the cloud shapes…or even in the space shapes?

Years ago when I was a young teen, the news was showing on our bubble screen television and my father exclaimed, “Look at that!  Negroes are now newscasters!” Funny thing is that I had not noticed the newscaster’s race. I had been studying how the studio light bounced off his bald head and I was thinking that something was wrong there.

Because of my selective focus, sometimes I only see the texture of snowflakes and not the snowy scene, or only angles rather than curves. There are times when I use post-processing skills to reshape the image to reflect my feelings.

I used to think that something was wrong with me because I didn’t always see things the way others did but now I celebrate a different way of seeing. Ultimately, each of us has a unique vision.

My gift today was an opportunity to share my vision.


> DAY 40 Elusive Lines

You can read my other posts on this project here:

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