May
12
2010

Levels of Observation by Cheryl Whitestone

I have to say, after 45 years of painting, I have truly trained myself to see. To see in a way that not only understands the energy, feeling or beauty of something or someone but the minute details and nuances that compose the thing I am viewing. I believe if you can truly see, you can paint anything. It is like putting a subject under a microscope. But be careful because this can leak into your life, and it can be easy to see all the imperfections that reside in the world and even in yourself. That's when you need to put on rose-colored glasses and know turning away from irritating issues or resolving them quickly is the best medicine.
I had a friend that confessed that he was scared of me, or rather artists in general. He said it was because he felt they could see through him. In some ways, this is probably true. But I assured him artists, or at least myself, were more curious than anything else.

Audrey Flack said in her book "Art & Soul, Notes on Creating" about seeing:
"When I am working from a photograph, a transparency, or direct observation, I am always amazed at how much more I see as the painting progresses. After I think I have completely perceived a particular area, something else reveals itself. As the work continues, the level of awareness deepens. The process takes its own time. I have come to accept that time and not fight it. I know when I begin my work, no matter how hard I try,
I'll never observe as much on the first day as I will on the last. Life like development will not be rushed, nor will there be full realization before completion..."

I understand DaVinci sat and observed the paintings he was working on for days without making a single brush stroke. Here's what I have been observing and working on:

"The Murphys' Walk on the Beach" 24"x36" Oil Portrait on Linen

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