All of us are watchers – of television, of time clocks, of traffic on the freeway – but few are observers. Everyone is looking, not many are seeing. (Peter M. Leschak)
Look over my shoulder and see through my eyes! The flowers in my friends’ Mindo (Ecuador) gardens were the inspiration for this 38 x 54″ painting in progress. Drawing and painting from life forces us to examine what’s in front of us, and we learn to see instead of guessing what we see!
Dangling from branches above the ginger, Queen of the Night – Datura (Brugmansia) saturates the evening air with its heady perfume. Sometimes abused as a hallucinogen, this dangerous plant is respected and used by shamans as one of the ingredients for ayahuasca. (More about Brugmansia)
The intoxicating night-blooming Angels Trumpet filled the room with its magnolia-like fragrance, though it did not alter or affect my focus!
I worked from flower to flower, and each day (or night!) the painting gained more presence.
Working from life forces one to slow down and examine the subject matter. This painting has many more sessions in its future before it’s finished.
Drawing and painting forces us to observe. This next week I will be paying close attention to tropical flowers and foliage. I hope that you’ll take a timeout to study one small object in precise detail. Don’t draw a symbol of what you think is there; study it and record what’s in front of you!
Art helps us focus; art teaches us to appreciate what’s in front of us; art keeps us happy! Take a half-hour timeout and train yourself to see! An added benefit might be a lingering smile on your face!