Sunday, November 21, 2010

Seeing Is Believing

I wear glasses.  I have now for almost thirty years.  It's not like I can't see without them, but I like to use them when I might want to know how something might actually look.  It has been a few years since I had my last eye check up.  Living in a country that has the best medical care in the world-- my insurance doesn't cover eye-care.  But the last time I went, after I was done telling the doctor which direction the E's went, he said all I really needed were those magnifier glasses they sell at drug stores.  Then he said something I'll never forget, "That'll be a hundred and fifty dollars..."

The problem I encounter as a painter, is "What does that look like?"  Now, that might seem like a rather inoccuous question, but it's important.  Abstract guys have it easy, but for me, if I can't see it, I can't paint it.  I have a few things that mess with me. 

  • I'm color blind.  So I always struggle with getting the true color.  I fuss, and fudge, and usually struggle, but eventually I get it right.  But really, how do I know?

  • I need glasses.  What I see when I don't have my cheaters on is markedly different than what I see when I am wearing them.  My stuff looks a lot better when it's all fuzzy.

  • Camera's suck.  Yeah, I use them all the time, but I know that it's really a two dimensional approximation with incorrect perspective of what I saw.  Of course, the better the camera, the more accurate the color.  But using a photo brings us to-- 

  • Printers stink.  A printer takes that semi accurate photo and replaces both the color and contrast.  Whatever color nuance, or vibrancy the camera picked up is lost during the printing process.  Using a monitor to view the digital images is better, it's much like having a slide projector in that way.  But that also leads to-

  • Monitors blow.  What are you using now?  A laptop?  Desk top with a separate monitor?  My fancy, flat screen monitor distorts the image by stretching it out horizontally.  Bet yours does something like that too.  

Alright.  I've gotten through those obstacles and completed a painting.  All of that brings us to: What does our painting look like?  With today's social media, our work can potentially be seen by as many people who own a computer.  But what image are they seeing?  Why, one that is made from a camera... or printed from it... or being viewed on a computer monitor...  (For clarification of what I'm driving at, re-read the above).

The latest advance in electronic gadgetry is 3-D television.  If that is now possible, maybe 3-D photos are not far behind.  It's a little known fact that 3-D photos were first invented well over one hundred years ago, but needed a special hand-held viewer to see them.  I'm hoping for something more modern, like a big helmet with wires sticking out of it.

So, yeah, those things could certainly help us see what things really look like.  So lets get going technology!

But I'll believe it when I see it.



martinealison said...

What we never invented the machine is that you can immediately see what is in the heart of another ... However, with the heart one can see what is in the heart of the artist looking at his paintings ...
Like you I often questioned my view. since very young I wear glasses. I had a serious car accident in 1976, with coma ... and since I have a very narrowed visual field ... I'm used to this discomfort. The most annoying now, is not only my high myopia presbyopia but who I thought would improve my myopia. Change all the time bezel ...
And especially the constant fear of not being able to paint because of my sight.
I also fear of aging in this unfortunate and vicious disease than Parkinson. No longer able to hold without shaking a pencil, a paintbrush ... Stop! "Do more tokens, the court is full !"...
FIELD is beautiful with your glasses. It seems very serious!
Kisses to you and continue to delight us with your paintings.

Susan Roux said...

Lol We better rely on how things make us feel, because with all these obstacles in the way, its a wonder we can paint anything representational in the first place!

Of course, there's always painting from reality...

(smart dog)

Kevin Mizner said...

Thank you, Martine-alison-- I always look forward to your insightful comments. I'm sorry about your affliction, but whether you pick up a paint brush or not, you'll always be an artist!

Kevin Mizner said...

Susan, I've been trying to use that "reality" thing, but with mixed results. Oh well. BTW that is not Champ in the photo. Champ wears contacts.

Virginia Floyd said...

I wear glasses, too, very near-sighted. Got my first pair in junior high and I remember being astonished that you could see individual leaves on the trees. Up to then I saw them as a shape of color.

We have several computers in this house, and paintings can look so different of the various screens--that's when I realized everyone might not be seeing the same thing. I just took it for granted they all worked the same.