Exploring shapes

Barb Toland Art Bites

Ok, so remember the Monet quote we talked about a few weeks ago? If not, let me refresh your memory...

We're going to allow this quote to guide our thinking today.

Instead of seeing "things" or objects, we're going to try to see shapes instead. I'll share a photo, then I want you to list in your mind some of the shapes & corresponding colors that you notice.

btw ... there are no wrong answers here! This exercise is solely for YOU to start (or continue) developing this way of looking.

In the long run, being able to do this is invaluable when creating work of your own, OR strolling thru a gallery &/or art museum and assessing what you see.

It trains you to keep your focus  "fuzzy" so instead of just seeing "things", you'll notice composition, balance, value (light vs. dark), movement, harmony etc.

Ok, so let's look at some photos. And like I said, work on identifying shapes & colors, instead of objects. For instance: big yellow blob, orange rectangle with corner cut off, tiny blue dots, large black square, squiggly white lines ... whatever they look like to YOU is what's important.

So here's the first image below. It may help to squint a bit in order to make what you see more out of focus & less detailed ... OR if you wear glasses, take them off for a similar effect:)


Paris in Pink

Here's another ... and also try to look at the shapes "between things". In this one you'll see lots of triangles & trapezoids if you do this.

Eiffel Lift View

Hope you have a full belly for this one! But if you're looking at shapes, then your tummy won't object too much, right? (Well of course there was wine, just not in the pic!)

Leisurely Lunch

After the rain, magical. Wet pavement at night & with lights is a great way to notice the interesting shapes on the street. And due to my lack of photography skills, also some interesting shapes in the sky above the Arc de Triomphe!

Last Night, Champs-Élysées

And of course I had to include one of my paintings! Two lovers walking hand-in-hand thru the tunnel below the Arc de Triomphe. What shapes do you see?

Distillation ©
10.5" x 14" watercolor
on 140 lb. Arches watercolor paper

So did Monet's advice help? Do you think you have a better handle on the art of "seeing"?

I would love to hear your thoughts! You can do so by going to my contact page and sending me a message — your creative heart & voice matter to me.

With love & affection 💕



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