Inspiration Fridays! Do your assumptions need glasses?

8paint Inspiration Friday Do your assumptions need glasses?

Do your assumptions need glasses?

Seeing is believing. Unless you don’t happen to believe that. A lot of us get this one backward.  We see what we believe.

“The question is not what you look at, but what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau

A good portion of how I see comes from my beliefs about how the world works.  Sometimes this can be helpful, like when I decided that becoming an artist was a legit career move, but it can also be a major handicap, like when I think I know what my wife is going to say before she says it.  When I use experiences from my past (or even the experiences of others) to anticipate my probable future, it affects what I get to see.

One exercise that helps me to break this vicious cycle of assumption is to take a little time away from knowing everything.  Naomi is a huge fan.  I step momentarily away from my already-know-what’s-coming ego and… break out the sketchbook.  I have to shift from assumption to observation and allow my drawing to shape my experience.

The whole world is reduced to a series of positive and negative shapes.  Any preconceived notions about what those shapes are falls away as I begin to draw.  I’ll draw friends I’ve known for years only to discover that I am seeing them for the first time. Everything changes when we finally take a moment to sit down and really look.


8paint Inspiration Fridays Citrus Still Life

Still Life’s are great because we don’t care about getting a perfect likeness.

The act of drawing something is the act of falling in love with it. Slowing down, taking the time to observe the minutiae and sort out the shapes. It’s a different way of seeing.  Instead of judging, it’s almost like we’re guests in a new world, seeing everything fresh and for the first time.

The next time you’re drawing something, try drawing all of the shapes that surround your subject. Instead of trying to draw the eye and then the nose, what shape does the space between the eye and the nose make? Drawing from a photo? Turn it upside down and see if those shapes aren’t just a little bit more obvious when you don’t know what you’re looking at. This is a great way to let go of what we think we know and to take some steps closer to seeing the truth of what exists in front of us.

How often do you notice assumptions in your work?

How do you move beyond your assumptions?

Do your assumptions need glasses?

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