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  • Writer's picturecarolyn land

Creative Spirit Blog November 12,2023 A Gift to be Thankful For

Majestic Autumn Pastel over watercolor

“Ultimately, art is trying to see things that other people don't see.” Trevor Paglen

During this time of the year many people take stock of the things they have to be thankful for. Often it is the physical things we count, along with family and friends. All of those are beautiful and important to our lives. But there are many little things in life that we don’t stop and take stock of as being important and appreciate. Today I want to write about something we each have, which is very important to us as artists. Our power of observation.

We all have different things that fascinate us and keep us interested and make our journey through life interesting. As we do things and participate in life, we observe, which is largely a sensory experience which we filter through our thought process. It’s these observations that give us food for thought and motivate our creative process.

As creatives we have learned to see colors in a way others often don’t. We immerse ourselves in the texture of objects. We see things not as objects but as shapes large and small and how they relate to each other. We find the linier qualities in things. It's our way of gaining knowledge about the world and helps us to uncover the complexities that others might not see.

Being observant allows us to notice the minute details of information that others may miss. It’s these powers of observation that help us create something unique in a visual format. As we observe and rework these observations, we hope that our interpretation will touch another as it has us.

Having this ability to reinterpret what we experience and make a creative rendering of our feelings and thought process is such a gift. Another one which we should be thankful for.

The gardener me hates the St Augustine grass that tunnels its way over the gardens edge and wraps itself around the plants and sends out shoots in all directions. The artist in me finds it fascinating. The thick stem with is fine root hairs and its flat blade that reaches upward. Would most people pull it out and observe all its qualities?

I walk around City Center Park and “damn” the broken sidewalk which has been heaved up by tree roots and is going to cause someone to fall. Then, the artist in me sees the tenacity of the tree’s root with its beautiful texture and undulating curves.

We see patterns of light filtering through tree leaves and highlighting the weeds that grow beneath. We visually play with the roof angles and find the negative spaces. We watch people’s body language which in our painting will denote mood. We are super observers! Then we create art, not as others might have seen the scene, but as we have interpreted what we see in the finer details, of something observed.

As “creatives” there are so many things to be thankful for. Let us take time to reflect on some of the small things that are gifts that we don’t usually think about. Our list is so long.

Happy Thanksgiving.

“Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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