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The persistence of vision

With paint­ing in my life I have ver­bal and non­ver­bal lan­guage I can use to describe and think about visual things. I can lay awake at night and con­sider the things I saw that day, reflect­ing on their shape, their color, and how they existed in space. I can think about what I saw and how it made me feel, and why. The more I paint, the more I see, and the more the sen­sa­tion of vision per­sists beyond the moment.

Here are some things I would prob­a­bly never have noticed if I were not a painter:

Morn­ing light fil­tered through white translu­cent curtains.

The color of shadow.

The shape of fingers.

The way the sky is one blue below a cloud layer and another blue above it.

How the light looks with my head under the covers.

The way the color of a sun­set changes, rad­i­cally, about every five minutes.

The many col­ors that white objects possess.

The gra­da­tion in the hue of my infant son’s irises.

I some­times look at a sky and think, “that’s a water­color sky,” or “that’s an oil paint­ing sky.” I can’t quite explain what the dif­fer­ence is, but to me it is clear.

I’ve encoun­tered peo­ple who have learned to appre­ci­ate paint­ings, but they don’t—they can’t—understand them the way a painter does, any more than some­one who attends the bal­let can under­stand dance as inti­mately as a dancer. For the under­stand­ing that I am start­ing to develop, I am deeply grateful.

Posted in painting, personal.

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3 Responses

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  1. Richard W. Cohen says

    I can only repeat what the old mas­ters have summed up : an artist is . . a stu­dent of nature.

  2. Timothy Terry says

    Great com­ments, they rep­re­sent my views to a T! Can I quote you on my blog? Let me know! Thanks again!

  3. David says
    Orig­i­nally Posted By Tim­o­thy Terry
    Great com­ments, they rep­re­sent my views to a T! Can I quote you on my blog? Let me know! Thanks again!

    Tim,

    Of course you can quote me. Glad you found this valuable.



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