Thursday, December 13, 2012

Seeing Like an Artist, Tip 2

Narrow Your Gaze
If Tip #1 is to Consider All Possibilities, then Tip #2 is to narrow your gaze. An artist studies the subject at the center of his/her work with a focus not dissimilar to meditation. 
After considering a world of possibilities, an artist tunes out all outside information to consider an idea, object or event in intense detail.
This might mean examining a single subject over and over in order to understand it's core.
It is safe to say, for example, that Monet knew the Rouen Cathedral like the back of his hand after painting it more than thirty times. Of course, what he was really studying was the way that the light affects a scene. He could have chosen to include details such as the particularities of its architecture, or the life congregating outside its entrance as well, but this series is so powerful because it involves a narrowing of gaze.

In fact this is one reason why artists tend to exhibit series of work together, submit their related work to competitions, and be historically remembered for a certain type of work. A serious artist knows that every moment is full of mind-blowingly exciting information, and decides to jump right into one aspect of that fullness with gusto.

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