An essential skill for artists

Oct 16, 2021

Seeing is an essential skill for artists.

 I believe if you can see it, you can paint it! 

And as artists, we need to see differently to interpret our vision onto the canvas effectively.  And if we know what to look for, we can see it more easily. Training our eyes to see every day will help us be more prepared when it comes time to paint. It will just be natural.

How do we do this?  Awareness. Know what to look for (the elements of art- line, shape, value, color, space, texture & form) and be conscious of experiencing them in your day. Notice the lines when driving down the road. Observe how things look in the early morning and late afternoon? See the long, beautiful shadow shapes created by light. A walk in nature will reveal textures in grass, slight variations in colors of flowers and the leaves. Are the leaves blue-green, lemon-lime or green-brown? How are the clouds forming? Where is the sun shining through?  Be mindful. Notice everything. 

There is another, higher level to this seeing thing.  Once we have mastered the basics of seeing and being able to transfer that knowledge to the canvas, we can then use seeing to become a visionary artist.

“Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.”said Nobel Prize winner, Albert Georgyi.

For artists in search of an artful vision, this is key.  See what everybody has seen, think what nobody has thought and then transfer that new thought to our creation of art. 

But before we are visionaries, we must learn the basics to know what to look for.  As artists we must become proficient with basic skills of drawing, color theory, concepts of form, and value distinction to name a few. These skills will guide us whether we are a sculptor, realistic painter, abstract expressionist, or photographer. They give us the tools to see like an artist. And if you can see it, you can paint it.