An early instructor told me my drawing skills were good, but that I wasn’t “seeing”. It took me a long time to understand her meaning.
Observing people in their environments and translating that image is a skill developed over a lifetime. I understand how people interact with others and with their surroundings, how a warm sunny place will make a person happily sit for a while; then distill this scene into its nuanced component shapes, colors, values and gestures.
I now realize that truly ‘seeing’ is not literal; to ‘see’ is multi-sensory. Even though I can faithfully — even beautifully — render a subject, that painting will not be complete until I can ‘touch’ the skin or fur of my subject, until I can ‘smell’ the air around them, when I can ‘hear’ what is going on in the scene — and when my audience can too. I strive to ‘see’ the scene so that every individual viewing my artwork can feel it’s emotion as if it were their own.
Thanks to Thunderpussy for letting me use their song Velvet Noose, even though I didn’t ask them.