Saturday, March 7, 2009

Notice What You Notice

Morning Haze
6 x 8

Private Collection

Last week someone asked me how I choose the subjects I want to paint. The easy answer is- they choose me. I paint the things that I notice. It sounds simple, but it took me many years to figure that out. I have a good friend who paints the figure and portraits. She notices faces but refers to anything more than a foot high with leaves as "shrubs". I, on the other hand, am fixated on shapes and negative shapes made by trees. I think we are somehow hardwired to notice certain things. So, its just a matter of paying attention-notice what you notice.


Martin Figlinski said...

So simple, yet so difficult at times. I think we allow ourselves to get overly influenced by other artists we admire and in the process, forget who "we" are. Thanks for reminding us!


Deborah Paris said...

You are so right, Martin. Its great to admire someone else's work, including their subject matter, but it doesn't mean that's what you should be painting!

Giselle C. Gautreau said...

Your absolutely right. I do exactly that.. paint what I notice. It's when I get away from my own work & start over-thinking the process is when it gets muddled & takes away from the momentum.
My process involves a pattern of gathering information & source material, and painting as much as I possibly can. Works for me!

Tina Mammoser said...

A great little bit of advice for new artists. And it does come with time. I paint those empty horizons because it's what I notice! :)

Don Gray said...

Lots of wisdom there, Deborah--thanks.

I've realized over the years that I tend to notice and respond to certain shapes. The subject can vary widely--it might be a rock, a tree, or maybe the curve of someone's forehead--but the shapes, when analyzed, have similarities. I call it "shape-consciousness." For some reason, certain forms carry interest and meaning to me, though I don't really know why. I suspect most, if not all of us, carry around some form of shape-consciousness.

Linda Schweitzer said...

Very good observation! Sometimes a subject just grabs you. I think in my own case the patterns of light and shadow are the fixation.

Deborah Paris said...

Hi Giselle. Staying focused is half the battle, isn't it!

Hi Tina-I was really interested to see your work from Chicago and how much affinity it had with what you are doing now. Looking forward to seeing your new studio!

That is a great point, Don- it isn't necessarily just subject matter, but more abstract patterns, designs and shapes that we seem to key in on.

Thanks for visiting Linda!

Unknown said...

Hi Deborah - you brought it exactly to the point. Funny though how it works sometimes. I could never say why I am fascinated by this or that - I only know I am. This applies specifically when I am cyling around with my camera and looking just for "things"...

Trevor Lingard said...

Hello Deborah
An interesting post, and has got me thinking!!!.
A lovely painting with such mood.
"You paint what you enjoy".

Jala Pfaff said...

Gorgeous painting. I love the unexpected lavender on the right, and the bit of light there in the sky.

It's so true what you say, too.

Making A Mark said...

It's a great point Deborah

However have you ever noticed how long it takes sometimes to notice what are the things you keep painting? I've only found the themes I'm really interested in by producing lots of drawings and posting them on my website and slowly the themes emerged and I became clearer about what my subconscious is up to!

neetzy said...

I'm a new visitor via Janelle's musings. I'm glad you wrote about the negative spaces behind trees. I find I'm drawn to the same thing. I'm not quite sure why. I spent 8 weeks in an abstraction class just to expand my horizons a bit. Now I know why I like my negative spaces! Keep on painting.

loriann signori said...

It's wonderful how you notice. Your "subjects" are so much a part of your being that a small stroke can suggest a feel of light from the setting sun or feathery branches laced by warm sun. Ah...what beauty!
You are so right each artist is tuned to one very special frequency. Finding it, and following it as it morphs is the challenge. You do that with amazing feeling. It is always an eye opening pleasure to visit your site. I find myself relaxing, open to the mood of ahhhhhhh you create. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Agree with this entirely - it's interesting just how much of what we consciously see is that which we pick out because it interests us.
I guess that's why your paintings have caught my attention!