Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What Do I See?

Working away at Find Your Eye with Kat....hence the name of my post.  I'll mention again that Kat's lessons are really terrific....see how it says "with heart and soul"-jus' sayin'....Click on the button if you're interested in her courses., take yourself to a place where there's art.  Yup. 
I remember an old love took me once to a gallery in Jacksonville FL.  I enjoyed looking at various pieces, strolling the garden, and spending a dreamy romantic hour on a picnic blanket with him overlooking the St John's River.  When my mother heard I'd been to a gallery, she laughed.  "What did you look at?  The frames?"  I suppose that wasn't very kind of her.

I must admit when I do go to galleries and exhibitions, I don't really know what to look for.  I'm lucky enough to be close to Wyeth collections-Andrew, Jamie, and NC, have seen Winslow Homer, and Edward Hopper.  My favorite painting is "The Scream" seems to put into picture form how I feel when my hearing issues are most prominent.  Aside from knowing a few famous others, I'm really at a loss.

This past weekend I was away with friends in a remote fishing village here in Maine.  Good fortune was a local artist holding her annual "open house".  She is primarily a watercolor artist, specializing in scenes from Maine.  I dragged my friends along to her little boathouse turned gallery for a peek.  While well intentioned, I couldn't settle down to tackle assessing anything about how I was reacting to the paintings, but I did have a nice visit with the artist and my friends seemed to like her works.

Last night I stopped at the local library....the artist of the month, Berri Kramer, just happened to be a photographer (yay!).  Her images were from trips made to Guatemala.  The sale of her photographs goes solely to help Partners in Development .  That's just an aside....In addition there is a collection of paintings in the hallway outside the children's section of the library, by a variety of artists, that I also took a look at.  I saw art, now hopefully I can figure out what I saw.

Because I don't understand much about painting, I feel a disconnect with it.  While I appreciate the effort that goes into a work, especially when I see intense detail work, somehow it doesn't move me much. (yet).  One of my friends said about the watercolors...."she really uses light well", so I went back and looked again with that in mind, but I don't think I would have seen it on my own.  I did notice an abstract piece called "reflections" and appreciated that in comparison to some of the reflections images I have taken similarly.

Little Row Boat
Little Row Boat

I shared this image recently....and like the water reflections.  In her piece the reflections were more abstract and the boat itself wasn't visible....that's cool, letting the abstractness of the reflection speak on it's own.  I think I knew it was a boat because I've seen so many boats and lately reflections. Tonight I was frustrated when trying to shoot a building and it's reflection in my frame.  I ended up with just the abstract reflection on the water.  Now I see that in tandem with her piece.  I should go back and purchase that from her.

When I looked at the photographs from Guatemala, I really liked them.  There were portraits, buildings, scenes.  They reflected the rampant poverty of the area.  I noticed in the portraits the subjects were looking directly at me-so they must have been looking at the camera, yet they were relaxed.  She was able to capture that.  In addition the photographs were very vibrant-strong colors; blues, reds, yellows, turquoise, purples...I liked that bold vividness.  I think I can look for that.  I was surprised when I created my inspiration journal to find many muted tones, especially browns, yet I like the colors I saw in these photographs, and I liked the realness of the scenes.  Raw, yet beautiful, even in the throes of poverty.

Blanket Flowers {316/365}
Blanket Flowers {316/365}

I had to go back to early July to find something I really liked that was colorful.  I think this is a place I can find some new inspiration.  Somehow flowers don't seem to "count"....they're always colorful.  I'll need to search for color-hard to find in subtle New England.

The art collection based on children's literature had much variety.  I tried to pay attention to the mood the images were conveying.  Some were filled with fantasy often accompanied by bright colors-tho' that did not interest me as much as it did in the photos.  Some images were "dear" perhaps picturing a child and grandparent, or kittens.  These images did not move me much either though I tried to appreciate their detail.  There was a block print black and white, again somewhat abstract, and some works that played with....I don't know what to call it, like DOF or depth perception....that were kind of intriguing.  Again I felt like I didn't know what to look for or what to notice-or what I like or don't like.  I'll have to try again soon.


Kittens and cats are cute.....I guess....

I did enjoy this exercise I just wish I had a little more knowledge to help me.  I have signed on to take an art appreciation course at the local community college this fall.  That should help me get some background in something.  I selected the course as I thought it might help my photographs.  I bet Kat would agree.

Thanks for reading up on my journey to the unknown.  My eye must be in there somewhere.


Leanne said...

Wow, your experience was a bit like mine- being a bit surprised about what you were drawn to and also being a bit unsure about what it is was that you liked. I think a very helpful experience overall and good for you to do an art appreciation course! I'm sure it will benefit.

justine said...

your cat Travis looks so like my cat ling ling, I'm sure they would be friends. Love that flower shot too.

Anonymous said...

You use light well in photography, so you should not have any problems in your course ;-)

That boat shot should be printed and framed, BIG. It's beautiful.

Kat Sloma said...

Fabulous post Susan, I'm so glad to see that you put your heart and soul into this exercise (and thanks so much for the wonderful plug!). It is not always easy to understand what we see and why we like it or don't, but you have taken the first step. Your art appreciation course will likely give you the words to help express yourself. The key thing to remember and pay attention to is what YOU like, and not get into the trap of thinking because some art is famous/important you should love it. I learned while in Italy I don't love Rennaisance art, but now I appreciate why it was important and what it brought to the world of art.

seabluelee said...

I appreciated the thoughtfulness and candor of this post. And as usual, I like the images you chose to illustrate each point. Your upcoming art appreciation course sounds interesting. I'd love to take something like that myself.

Brenda said...

Great post filled with your wonderful brand of humor and emotional openness! It's oftentimes hard to admit what we don't know - like you, I don't really understand Art in the formal sense. So attempting to write about Art with a capital A, I feel somewhat at a loss. But I think we can write about what speaks to us and you have done that in such an insightful way.

All your photos are stunning - the boat reflections, the vibrant flowers and cat eyes.

Ashley Sisk said...

Talk about heart and soul. I find that when I look at other people's art outside of the blogging world, I focus less on technical details and more on emotion.

Kay L. Davies said...

You have a wonderful eye for photography, so I'm thinking you shouldn't be too far from developing an appreciative eye for painting.
We just got back from a cruise-tour in Russia, and, as it happened, I wasn't up to attending the tour to the world's largest art gallery, the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg. I now have, on my computer, all the photos my husband took there. I know now I would have been overwhelmed by it all, the beautiful buildings and that huge art collection. I can honestly say now I'm glad I stayed behind.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Ms. Becky said...

I don't usually recommend acquiring anything. especially THINGS. but art is different, it's one of the few exceptions I will make, otherwise I'm a firm believer in detachment. so....I'm making this suggestion - contact that watercolor artist and purchase the abstract reflections painting. really.
thanks for the insight here. I've been so absent for this class, and now I'm realizing that it simply isn't good timing for me and that I must leave it for a better day.
on another note, I think your mother's response to learning you had spent time at a gallery is most curious. I love your recounting of the memory of that day. thanks for sharing. now go get that painting.

Becs said...

I love your words and your photos are just beautiful. Enjoy your art appreciation. I have a degree in art history and I loved studying it, but I also think Kat makes a good point when she says pay attention to what YOU love.
You should definitely go back and buy the painting :)

Deborah L. Tisch said...

I, too, have really enjoyed reading your post. I've learned a lot from yours and that of the other members of the class. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Florence said...

wow, you have really thought long and hard about this assignment, your post was very interesting. i'm a bit like you, i love art exhibitions, but often i get lost in them not knowing quite what i am supposed to look at, or feel, or else. this assignment gave us some real help with this, didn't it? i think that's why i left the exhibition feeling happy, because for once i was looking with intent. you seem to have learnt so much from the experience, i like your honesty.

Phyllis said...

Hi Susan - I so enjoy your posts. I'm getting to know you - and I like you (smile) The close ups of the purple flowers are lovely, and I especially like the piano keys in an earlier post. I've taken a few painting classes and experimented with most of the mediums... I took a photograpy course long before there were digital cameras...dogs howl and babies cry if I attempt to sing...and what is the point of this long winded post? Well I guess it's just that I will never be an expert at any of these, but I know when something resonates within me and I just plain old like it. My son just received a graduation card and there was a handwritten note inside which said "it's not the destination - it's the jourhey" .. enjoy your journey and your ice creams!! (thanks for stopping by my blog , the photo was taken in Concord, MA at the Old North Bridge)

Iquemon said...

I don't know anything about paintings either, just about one or two painters I like. But The Scream is one of them. I enjoyed reading your post and I love the colorful flowers and the boat as well.

Cathy H. said...

Your honest words about art speak to me!! I've been overwhelmed by this assignment! I've already planned another outing, hoping it will be not so hard this time. Love your photos, they are perfect with your thoughts!