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  • Writer's picturecarolyn land

Creative Spirit Blog January 29,2023 Looking Between the Lines

What Lies Beneath Mixed Media

“Ultimately art is seeing things other people don’t see”. Trevor Paglen

I do not think that a day passes in my life in which I fail to look with fresh amazement at the miracle of nature. It surrounds me. It can be simply a shadow from a tree, a spider’s web gleaming in the sunlight, or the light filtering through the pines. Everyday there is something new and exciting to see. I have always found a special connection to nature, and it is what inspires most of my work.

As artists we must learn not to just look at an object but to look between what we see, around what we see, and feel its essence. It is that essence, that we must put in our art. Whether we are rendering something realistically or presenting it in an abstract form, it is the essence of the subject that we must paint. Without that, it is somewhat meaningless. It lacks importance.

When we capture the essence, we evoke a feeling in the viewer. We connect! If we connect strong enough, we make the sale or at least create a follower.

No matter what our subject is, it has an endless variety of forms, colors, textures, and lines for us to use in our work. There is a rhythm to every subject. How can we be in tune with the ebb and flow of our subject? By discovering what it is about our subject that intrigues us. By knowing all aspect of it, loving it, studying it, and letting our imagination play with its parts and its personal story. Whether it is nature, people, architecture, or an obscure feeling we need to know our subject. Being a good artist is more that rendering a subject. Its capturing it essence.

We have frequently heard the saying “read between the lines”. There is more to the story than what’s there. What is really the heart of the matter? It is the same with art. When we find the subject that turns us on, we need to look for more than what we see. Then we need to find the best way to express it. There are many mediums and not all mediums suit every subject in the way we want them to be presented. This is where having tools in our toolbox comes in handy. We need to know our materials and what they can do to tell the full story.

Art can express emotion and thoughts in a way that nothing else can. Seeing the significance in the subject which we want to use is essential to a successful creation. We need to focus on showing its essence rather than its form, or at the very least, pick a part of the form that is intriguing and tells a special story. Creativity allows us to respond to visual and sensory stimuli in an original way, which is a great thing!

“When the motives of the artist are profound, when they are at their work as a result of deep consideration, when they believe in the importance of what they are doing, their work creates a stir in the world.” Robert Henri

Instead of taking things at face value, let’s take a different view. Think outside the box, see between the lines and shapes, and see things we never saw before. Carolyn


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