Making art and learning to see

To cut down on the amount of deciphering we need to do, our brains have evolved a wonderful ability to create symbols in a kind of sensory short-hand. If I show you the word FLOWER you may be able to recall an image of a flower from your memory. Since your brain is versatile, it will most likely be a generalised flower-symbol rather than an image of a particular dandelion you happen to have picked as a child. 

While this is amazing and infinitely useful, it can get in the way of art. 

Whenever I teach a workshop on drawing, the hardest thing to overcome is the persistence of the symbol of the flower in our mind. If we rely on that symbol, we draw a childish image of a stick, some circles and maybe a leaf.

Art happens when we are willing to sit and really look.

The kids I taught at the 2014 Yukon Wildlife Preserve Art-Nature Camp show this beautifully!

Art and Nature Camp 2014_4
Art and Nature Camp 2014_1
Art and Nature Camp 2014_2
Art and Nature Camp 2014_3