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The difference between looking and seeing




2021-06-01 20:54:02

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Wendie-Joy Planting


Right behind my house there are many wonderful trails to hike into the natural park Montnegre I el Corredor, and I developed the habit to go on a morning walk whenever I can. I usually go by myself, but the times I walk with friends, I frequently stay behind, and have to run to catch up with them. By now they know me well: I can’t resist to observe closely the texture of the bark of a tree, or the tiny wrinkles, colors and shades in the petals of a poppy. While my friends walk, chat and enjoy the beauty of nature, I need to see the details.

A quick glance at the photo below shows us the way my friends experience the view of the poppies along the trail. A batch of nice flowers. And our minds are trained to see just “flowers” and move on.

But if you really look at the flowers – if you really see what’s actually there- you’ll discover that that one poppy has characteristics that set it apart from all the others.

How well we are able to actually SEE the world around us is a very important link in any creative process, no matter which medium you use. And there is a huge difference between “perceiving” something and actually “seeing” it. If the first concept is about a casual approach, the second one is about engagement. Learning to take control of how we see requires challenging ourselves. We need to train ourselves on focusing on details, like colors, shades, textures….

And if you’d take the time to examine them, you could also find unique details in each of the other flowers.

Now that’s the type of “seeing” any artist should develop in order to convert a nice creation into an outstanding work.

When I first started practicing, many years ago, it opened up a whole new world for me. Man, what an experience! And so much fun! Staring at the textures of the clouds at a sunset, marveling at the reflection of the trees in a lake… It is also essential in deciding on a composition for your work, but I’ll talk about that in a next article!

Wendie Joy Planting

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