Thursday, December 13, 2018

Developing an 'Artist's Eye'

We all have this to some extent. We use a facet of this ability when we arrange our home decor or mix and match our clothing choices. We use our sense of position, balance, color, shape, and compatibility.

If we've had a long relationship with fabric, we have most likely expanded on that ability by learning to appreciate texture, finish, complimentary color, pattern, etc.

For those of us who strive to turn our love of fabric into a higher level of artistic application and appreciation, we need to realize that it takes training and practice to develop a creative 'Artist Eye'. In short, we have to change the way we see and rewire our brains to accept our specialized vision.

Believe it or not, our brains are often our biggest hindrance. With experience and time, our brains learn to anticipate and make decisions about what we see without any conscience effort on our part. So how is that a hindrance to an artist? Our brains function on a level of practicality and efficiency. For instance, it may see a bowl with a medium sized round, red shape with a stem, and a long curved yellow shape next to it and immediately identifies them as an apple and banana. Once the objects are identified, the brain thinks its work is done and ceases to look for further information.

It's that missing information that is absolutely necessary to an artist, no matter the medium they choose to work in. To develop an 'Artist's Eye', we need to stop seeing just a single or collection of items and see the whole scene or vignette.

For example let's revisit the bowl of fruit we talked about earlier. The brain took the expedient route to identifying the objects and stopped there. But what would the brain trained to see through an 'Artist's Eye' tell us?

• The mood of the scene is tranquil and homey as the bowl of fruit sits on top of a dining table in a country style kitchen.
• The bright morning light is bathing the fruit in a yellow and magenta tinged glow.
• The marbled blue bowl that holds the fruit has deep purple hued shadows around its bottom and icicle blue highlights around its rim.
• The polished, honey-colored wood table top provides a perfect canvas for the scene, giving it both dimension and stability, its wood grain a natural contrasting pattern to the smooth curved shape of the bowl and fruit.
• The strong circular highlight on the apple's top ridge gives it a delicious depth of color range.
• Sharp angles, soft curves, definitive lines, color value, warmth and coolness, mood, texture, pattern.

These things are present but not initially registered by the brain. We, the artist, must prod the brain to see these things. If practiced enough, the brain will begin to adapt to our 'Artist Eye'.

Lynda's Fabric Art Gallery
Lynda's Tutorial Page
Understanding Symmetry and Balance in Fabric Art

1 comment:

  1. I do feel we all have this eye Lynda; just gotta quiet the mind enough to see through it.