Writing about style, design and all things that catch my eye!

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

How Artists See

Photo of How Artists See by Ryan Finnerty  borrowed from his original blog post on 2/4/11  

As the parent of a natural artist, I get to meet all sorts of skilled teaching artists in the Seattle area. Ryan Finnerty is one of these engaging, talented artists (that I met via The Gage Academy). When a friend asked him if, as a painter, he saw differently,  he says that he stared at his face and thought about it… “Yes.” he answered.  When designing interiors & wardrobes, I think that I subconsciously do that, too; yet it's in relation to the spacing of objects on a table, color & pattern choices and placement... you know, it's a canvas of a different sort.  I am easily distracted by the need to move an item 1/2 an inch to the left, and another one 4 inches forward. In the end, these are changeable things. However, when a visual artist translates what they see into new works, they create a new reality formed from their unique view upon the world.  
Ryan explained "Since drawing and painting are about shifting perception, it makes sense that artists will literallylook at the world differently. Thousands of hours spent drawing rewires the brain, training it to seek different kinds of information from the visual world. Even when I’m not painting, my mind is finding relationships, colors, shapes and proportions. During a conversation, I’ll be making broad generalizations about patterns and structures in your face. Hopefully, I’ll also be listening to you."

"I made this illustration from a photo by my friend Liz Phung. The lines indicate some of the special relationships I watch for: angles, latitudes, planes, and connections. I also tried to sample colors to illustrate how I observe them, but it’s not a great match. The way the mind interprets color is pretty mysterious and has alot to do with the artist’s materials. I was astonished by how much less color variety the camera found. By digitally sampling areas, I found none of the greens, violets, and blue-grays I usually find in the face. The differences between yellows and pinks in the face also flatten out considerably. Artists see differently from cameras, too, but that’s another discussion." wrote Ryan Finnerty. Take a peek at this shortened video of him painting Richard Webb over a four hour period. In a similar painting, what colors/proportions do you think would make you, you?

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