Light and dark

I’ve read a number of articles by people who have tried to explain our visual impressions in very technical terms and integrate it with art. This is very difficult because many of them don’t actually know the technical aspects of how we perceive the world and those that do are trying to fit a very square peg in a round hole. I’m really interested in the details of how we perceive the world and I admit to being one of those people trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, but I find it increasingly difficult.


Lately I’ve found it easier to stop trying to understand how we view the world and simply experience it. Artists have no trouble with this and tend to do it naturally. Perhaps that’s what makes them artists. I have never considered myself an artist, so continue to struggle with technicalities and as I age, I find it less difficult to ignore the technicalities and just go with how it looks. My paintings certainly appear to look better to me as a result.


I try to create my paintings so that they have a realistic look to them. At least sometimes I forget that I’m looking at a painting and the painting springs to life. I don’t sculpt, I paint; but I’ve noticed that the reality illusion can appear in sculpture too. Scientists and doctors have a fair understanding of how humans perceive the world but there is little understanding of how an artist perceives it, or that an artist may perceive it differently.


The Veiled Nun is a sculpture in the national Gallery of art In Washington. It is carved in marble and shouldn’t be in any way transparent, but the veil looks transparent to me.


As I read more about our visual system and how it works, I try to incorporate it into my paintings. This is frustrating and it’s easier to simply, at least momentarily, forget about the technicalities and paint what I see.