The horse's pasture to the East...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

VISION : The World As I saw It, part three in a series

     " “When he shall die,
        Take him and cut him out in little stars,
        And he will make the face of heaven so fine
        That all the world will be in love with night
        And pay no worship to the garish sun.” 
Light, dark, vision. It permeates all cultures, all languages. Sight is our most developed sense, followed closely by hearing. The human's ability to see with binocular vision capable of seeing more than a million different colors has taken us from tree tops to the surface of the moon.

The eyes are connected to the brain through the optic nerve. The brain combines the input of our two eyes into a single three-dimensional image. In addition, even though the image on the retina is upside-down because of the focusing action of the lens, the brain compensates and provides the right-side-up perception. Vision is the process of deriving meaning from what is seen. It is a complex, learned and developed set of functions that involve a multitude of skills. 

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.   Plato

I am an artist. It isn't a chosen path. I think I was hard wired for it. I escaped in to a world of imagination, in my earliest memories, while watching clouds. For me they weren't white and puffy. They were every color of the rainbow. I saw an infinite range of blues and purples, reds, oranges, yellows and green. The grass that I lay in, while watching those clouds, had a line of light around the edge of every blade. The dirt was purple, green and blue and the trunk of the tree I leaned against was every shade of red and sienna. I still see the world that way but more because I practice that vision and not because it comes to me as easily as it did as a child. 

Professional artists are highly trained observers. They've spent years learning to observe the world around them in fine detail. They experience the world with the kind of focus that is closer to the ability of a child to see.

All" Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not." Pablo Picasso

Picasso once told a journalist, during an interview, that he had spent his adult life, his career, trying to find his way back to the talent he had as a child, to draw. He was one of the greatest artists of his generation who's work was driven by the need to see as a child. 
A baby is an open book with pages, waiting to be filled. And in the beginning they see everything. They see with infinite detail, with no prejudice. Society has not imposed itself yet. Peer pressure or even the need to survive has not become part of the editing process. When we are very young, everything is fascinating, every detail is perfect. Ants crawling through their hidden world are an endless source for a child's imagination. The bit of fuzz or shiny button that a crawling baby picks up and tastes is as wonderful as the hair growing out of Grandpa's ear. There are no limits to the world when we see as a child.  
If there were one gift I could give to people it would be to revel in the excitement of the world with the clarity that a child sees, with all of the open unfiltered imagination and color that is the gift of vision.

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