The Secret Art of Looking

   It would be real nice to have the youthful power of my sight restored. I don't have to bother wearing my glasses and see the world around me clearer and detailed. With my glasses I'm not experiencing the real naked color I had seen during my youth. These are the secret colors only an experienced vision can recognized and these are primary secret a painter must know to create reality. I am not saying here that you create mirror images of the real world but of the inner significance.
   I would like to share to you the secret colors and masterful details of the world around us. How to see them...more easily. I should say it would take great amount of practice to acquire but the benefit would be tremendous once you solved the puzzle.   
   Some of the basic element we must first look at are this realities....images are absorb by our retina with the aid of light source. Other things to consider are distance, texture, composition, lines, and so on....
   A lot of people think they can "see" but most of what they really saw are often times crafted by our own perception, beliefs, or assumptions. Yes, we often skip the real looking part and assume that what our brain had process was what we really saw. Taking the time to pause, look back and rethink, was it really black or is there something more? 
   Van Gogh was perhaps the first artist to re-educate our brain on the art of looking. With the use of bold and intentional strokes that suggest movement...and defining hidden colors more obvious, he was able to draw our attention to details we fail to recognized or subconsciously ignored.  Through his keen and discerning eyes he was able to share to us colors that common people never saw. 
   I only started "looking" when I was in college and that first encounter with real colors, shapes, textures, and shades were not all that simple....I have to adjust some learned activities that I have acquired since nursery. Re-educating my brain to disregard the education most of the elders before me practiced. 
   The first problem to solve is to gradually unveil the inter-woven hues from every inanimate and animated things we see. Knowledge of material composition is vital as they can be translated into grains, volume, density, and tone. 
   Here is a far greater theory that I have been experimenting; that acquired knowledge or personal views whatever it is shall and will reflect on your work.  Your belief system will direct every single brushstrokes or every time you hit a nail with hammer. 
   To understand colors we must acknowledge first black and white  images...monochromatic pictures can be very helpful in understanding the different shades as they lacked other colors to focus, your attention shall be brought easily to shades and shapes. What makes the images look heavy or light shall depend greatly on shadings. The challenges are to discover colors mingling within hues...a bunch of seeds shown on 2nd photograph will tell you that there are different kinds of browns. The elementary way to paint them is to simply make some oval shapes and then color it with brown...yet as we look at the picture that was not the case in reality. The world is surrounded by different level of light plus the relationships of other colors emitting from other object.  
   Now to describe an object using pencil or brushes we must translate the substance and not the literal image we see...try closing your eyes and imagine a single piece of stone, now add another you see it rough or smooth, how about the shadows...where are the lights coming? Now look outside and search for a stone...once you found it, pick it up, stare at it closely, try differentiating the stone you saw on your head than the one you are holding now. 
   Of course there would be many differences....first it was not the stone you were thinking haven't seen that stone before. That is the point of the experiment, we already had a pre-conceived form into things we gave names into...that pre-fabricated image we had associated are our basic knowledge of things...and the stone in hand are the realities...which is more often than not overlooked or taken for granted.
   It may take time to acquire the habit of looking but it can be achieve.....believe me, even if you are color blind. 


  1. Very good points made here...I have read that some think we all see different colors but call them red,blue, ect. We see blue but we do not all see the same blue. How can you explain blue to someone, we all assume we are all seeing the same blue. Also people don't realize that green grass at 8 AM is not the same green we see at 12 noon but most people don't see it. People tend to look but not really see... This was really interesting and well thought out!!

  2. Very informative. Thank you for sharing

  3. Fher... you forgot to mention eavesdropping... scrutinizing...staring... and just kidding :P

    I like how you described the "art" in seeing things... that's what defines artists... we see the details... those that remain unnoticed until we touch them...

    I draw better when I literally see things than by mental images...

    Thanks for sharing...I'll come back here every now and then and reflect on how I could see things in another angle.


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