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  • Writer's picturecarolyn land

Individual Perception

“I take it as a spiritual blessing to have been given an artist’s soul and eyes to see in wonder and awe.”                      Bethany Fields

Collage by FL artist Carolyn Land

Condor’s Flight

As I was painting at the HUB yesterday during the “First Saturday” event, an elderly gentleman stood watching me. He had been looking intently at my wall of paintings.

This month I have mostly abstract paintings hanging there, and one very representational painting of morning fog lifting.  In front of me I had an array of small abstract and realistic paintings on a table, which were for sale. I was working on a realistic pastel landscape.  We started a conversation, and he said: “Do you mind if I ask why do you do that modern stuff, when you paint these beautiful landscapes?”

Pstelpainting by FL artist Carolyn Land

A New Day Dawns

It was not the first time I was asked that question, and I have been asked the reverse.  “Why do you do these trite landscapes, when your other work is so vibrant?” Judging from this gentleman’s age I thought; when he was a child and colored outside the lines he probably got his hand slapped, or his crayons taken away.  Not an uncommon classroom practice, back in the 1930’s and 1940’s.  These questions are good teaching moments.

Every experience in our life time, and how we react to it, effects how we perceive things.  Every viewer comes with their own suitcase of emotional baggage, that is going to affect how they interpret, and emotionally react to something.  And, it is not likely that any two people are going to share the exact same preferences and enthusiasm, for a type of work, all of the time. What speaks to one viewer may not speak to another. I, think it is what makes the world such an interesting place. After all they say, “variety is, the spice of life”.

I pointed out to the gentleman yesterday that he was looking at my work very intently, “Yes”, he said. I asked: “What is making you look at it?”  “The color,” he exclaimed. Then I asked if he was enjoying the color, and he smiled and said: “yes, but I like that one better! ”He was pointing at the painting “A New Day Dawns.” I hope he is around on January 13th, when I give my “Talk Art” on, “From Realism to Abstraction.”

Everyone is entitled to their point of view on art, and everything else for that matter.  The goal I believe, is to be open enough to accept the differences and be willing to invest enough time, to understand and learn more about that which one does not understand.  There is nothing wrong with having a preference.  It’s when you slam the door on everything else.  I think that this gentleman has the capacity to understand that, given the time he spent looking, and the question he asked.

While I recognize the necessity for a basis of observed reality…true art lies in a reality that is felt.”                                Odilon Redon

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