How does it happen that a painter notices red pears in the local grocery market? Then without looking at the price, she grins widely, grabs a handful and comments “they are for a painting!” How does this happen? What did she see in those pears that was more enticing than say the lemons or the oranges or that green skin of the avocado? Nothing. She picked up an assortment of these as well. But it was the red pears that she knew where going to be the main attraction.
As is common, there is no drawing to guide her brush. Her eyes must be her guide, along with her experience which is where the problem lies. It is in her experience that the mental shortcuts are developed and her eyes and brush stop noticing and actually “seeing” what is before her. She is even, in her noticing, not looking for details but rather relationships between light, shadow, colour and to-a-lesser-degree form. The painter understand that our brains construct images from rapidly gathered information from small areas that the mechanism of the eye scan and then the optic nerve delivers to the brain for translation and construction of a visual image. However, there is more information that is gather from the painter’s other senses that also assists in these constructed images. To name just a few bits of other sensor influence, there is the smell of the orange and linseed oil, the feel of the fabric and the planks of the wood floor with her bare feet and the sound of water dripping from the eaves. Then too there is all the previous data gathered about what a bowl of fruit looks like. There are all the bowls of fruit ever noticed and seen – both in real-time and in photographs and paintings. There are all the rules and breaking of rules about composition, about the actual process of painting as well as those about noticing, really noticing what she is seeing. Of all of this information, what will be the resulting rendering of THIS still life?
Well, the painter did not get very far before she decides to enhance what she is seeing. She adds a lemon on the bottom right. Yes, she says to herself, it should be there. And so it is.