One of the great perks of being an artist is the enhanced ability of perception. It’s the gift of being in the now. I don’t believe that it’s relegated only to the plein air artists of the world but you have to admit that the act of creating art on site, out in nature and under a big blue bowl of sky opens one up to the experience of the moment. It is a gift we give ourselves to be open to perceive all the senses; sight, touch, sound, smell and taste and that other one that isn’t covered in the science books. It carries over to the everyday. I know when I am in high painting mode that I am hyper-aware. Everything has beauty, from a lake to a crumpled car. I wonder often how many people go to a place only to see it for that moment but not experience it. If you have painted in any of the many wonders of our world, you know what I’m talking about. To paint a place is to stay in it for hours, to soak in it and watch it slowly change. Watch the shadows move across the field, the colors change temperature and hear the birds call. To be in tune and aware of the surroundings like this is sort of like falling in love with the earth. As hokey as that sounds. I think it’s why plein air painters are so mellow and happy. They are full of appreciation and love.
But wait there’s more. All things are better. A dinner is better, I watched the steam come off a freshly baked timpanic bread tonight. We cut it open and whoosh the flavors are visible to the eye, audible to the nose and elcectric on the buds. Patterns are heightened, colors are deepened, smells waft across the skin. It’s a good way to live. So many things to appreciate, so little time. I often wonder if the heads of state and the powers that be could only really experience these things the way we do, what would we possibly have to fight about? And, no, I’m not doing the drugs.
It’s our function as artists to take all this perception and sensation and filter it. Turn it into our own interpretation of what we feel or felt so that others can experience it too.