“I grant you the artist does not see Nature as she appears to the vulgar, because his emotions reveal to him the hidden truths beneath appearances…his eye grafted on his heart reads deeply into the bosom of Nature. That is why the artist has only to trust his eye.” Auguste Rodin
Any subject offers a bewildering amount of information. The artists job is to edit out unnecessary details, or move details, to show the viewer what to focus on. Sometimes we want to record a scene just as it is, but it has so many details, it is hard to put all of them in. That is when artists needs to reach deep within themselves, and look not at the details of the scene, but how the scene feels, then capture it essence…whether it is realistic or abstract.
As artists, we all hope to open a window into another world for the viewer. But the artist must also remember that each viewer brings all that is inherent in them, and what they have filtered through their senses over years of experience, to everything they see. Therefore, what you hope to share with your viewer may not be what he sees.
It is you job as an artist, to look at your reference material and see all the possibilities it offers you. To make it say what you want it to say. In the end, you must please yourself, and paint for yourself, and find joy in the process. If you want people to look and see what you have done, you must bring their eye into it with strong values, good composition, and enough interesting detail to make them stay there awhile, and be part of your world.
Look at a scene, or your reference material, and make it yours. It is only a road map for good perspective and strong composition, if it is edited correctly. What you put in the lines of the composition, should be your heart and your soul.
“You do not see with the lens of the eye. You see through that, and by means of that, but you see with the soul of the eye.” John Ruskin