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A high school art teacher that I shared a staff room with for 5years said to me once, “before we can teach kids to paint, we have to teach them to see.”

I frowned as I considered this and she continued.

“Ask a kid what colour that tree is and they’ll say green. You have to teach them to see the yellow, the brown and the grey, as well as the shapes and the way the light plays on them, only then can they paint what they see.”

I looked at the trees then, really looked and realised that she was right. How many of us truly look at our surroundings. We see a shape we recognise as a house and that’s what it becomes for us. We might call it grey and big and whatever else strikes us about it, but we cease seeing the shapes, planes, angles, texture and other subtleties.

Perhaps this doesn’t matter, but let’s be grateful to the artists that show us another way of seeing.

Not only might an artist show us texture, movement, line, colour and so on, they may show us feeling or ignite one in us, they encourage us to look at the world in a different way. They peel away the layers of assumed reality and help us to see more deeply. Give 4 artists the same scene to represent and you’ll see that each one has their own vision.

Monet, Claude: The Artist’s Garden at Giverny

 

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