Looking

I spend a large part of my day looking.

In the morning, I look at the screen on my computer.

In the afternoon, I spend time outside. I look at the minute details of my garden, checking each flower and each vegetable for signs of growth, or slug damage, or readiness to be picked, pruned or harvested. I look at the whole vegetable garden (I regret that I got such a late start this year, and I trust that there will be more to eat very soon).  I look at each flower bed, and try to manage the weeds that all this rain is bringing. I look at the sky and the water and the mountains in the distance. I see the sun gleaming or the clouds moving or the rain glistening. I notice the other houses near where I live. I take in the trees swaying in the breeze.  I love it all.  I breathe.

Then it’s time to go into the studio.  I take the time to look at what I’ve been working on before going on to the next step, the next stroke the next layer.  Then I paint and I look while I’m painting.  And I look again, and paint again.

But all the looking is a prelude for feeling.  If I am painting an abstract composition, I need to explore what is moving me in the moment, knowing that painting it will change the feeling or the emotion into something else.  If I am creating a mandala, I take the word that I am associating with it and feel deeply into what it means for me.  If I am prompted to paint my version of a landscape, I am not representing anything actual.  I am feeling into everything I have seen, everything I have been looking at, and making a semblance of the real world as it has been filtered through my mind and heart.

The three small paintings on paper which are pictured above are those kind of landscapes.

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This entry was posted by susanbradfordart.

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