Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Art of Seeing

Part of being an artist is learning the art of seeing.  In fact, it is the most important part of being an artist.  Seeing, for an artist, is not just looking at something.  Seeing is looking at it with your heart to discern what you can learn about it and how you can share what you have learned.

 So, how do you do that?

Well, it doesn't start when you pick up your first brush to create a painting of an apple.  It starts long before that moment.  It starts when you stop glancing at things.  It starts when you unconsciously replace a casual look around you, with a mind that studies light and shadow, texture and color - and a heart that wants to share what you see.  That is the beginning of seeing things from the "inside out", so to speak.  The beginning of seeking to understand your subject as more than a three dimensional object to be portrayed in art materials.

Learning to see this way has benefits beyond artistic creation.  Seeing things with your heart as well as your mind brings more beauty to the sunset.  Looking with your heart takes longer than a glance takes.  It makes you stop and fill yourself with what you see.  It also lets you see potential that you will miss if you only give life a brief glance.

Take these butterflies, for instance.  None of them are finished.  I have an idea in my mind that I want to share with these little paintings - an idea that is a reflection of how my heart sees butterflies.

A butterfly wasn't always a butterfly.  At one point it was a caterpillar.  It went from ewie to ahhhh in the eyes of most people - people who don't have much interest in what went happened  in between.  When I see a butterfly with my heart, I see the caterpillar, the chrysalis, the struggle, the butterfly and the freedom of flight. 

Where are these little butterflies going to fly?  I'm not sure.  But on the way, they will dance by a friend of mine, Shannon Thornsley Guerra, who is having a fundraiser for their adoption expenses.  You see, Shannon and her family have learned the art of seeing with their hearts.  They are adopting two children, a boy and a girl.  They are five years old, have never met, are very small for their age, hardly speak at all, and spend all their time in their orphanages. 

But Shannon and her family look at them with their hearts - and they see butterflies and not caterpillars.  They are willing to go through all of the blessings and struggles with these children, so that one day they, too, can see their own butterflies with their hearts.

Check out Shannon's blog, Copperlight Wood, to keep up with all of their adoption news.
Take a peek at her lovely Etsy shop, Baruch's Lullaby.
You can find her on Facebook, too.

Have a blessed day,

"God saw everything that He had made, and indeed, it was very good. 
And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day." 
Genesis 1:31


  1. What a lovely post and so true. Your artwork certainly reflects your heart. I feel like I know your animals...their personalities come shining through your brush strokes!

  2. Great post Kathy.
    What gorgeous butterflies.
    Good Luck to your friend.

  3. Beautiful post...thank you so much. You probably didn't already know this, but I LOVE butterflies, and we have them in various art forms all over our the analogy is precious to me. ♥

  4. Beatiful. The paintings and the writings.

  5. Great post, Kathy! Love your butterflies - all the best to your friends :^)

  6. This brought to mind some of the things that Mr. Salmon used to say - sometimes we didn't "get" it at the time, but it makes so much sense now! Your friend is in my prayers for adoption success!

  7. Thanks, Graceful - that is exactly what I hope people can see!

    Thank you, Pam! I appreciate the compliments and I am sure that they appreciate the good wishes!

    Wow, Shannon! I had no idea that you liked butterflies. I asked the Lord to give me inspiration because I was stumped about what to paint for you.

    Thank you, Kim - glad you stopped by and enjoyed them.

    Thank you, Lee! I appreciate the compliment =) Thanks, also, in behalf of my friends.

    Karin - Very true! He was a very wise art teacher. I still have several pieces of artwork that I did in his class. Thanks for the prayers! Many challenges and blessings are ahead of them.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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