The Art of Seeing

We look, but we don’t see. David Hockney said, “Teaching people to draw is teaching people to look.” The same goes for poetry and writing. Seeing doesn’t mean just looking, glancing, or observing. It goes deeper. In The Art of Description, Mark Doty writes, “People who have studied drawing know that you have little idea what’s in front of you in the visual landscape until you try to represent it. . . what is required, in order to say what you see, is enhanced attention to that looking.” Writing is as much an art of seeing as drawing. A skilled artist travels beyond the visual to include the other physical senses — listening, tasting, smelling, touching. When we see with our minds and hearts, we tap into spiritual and imaginary realms as well. Once we perceive the pulses of energies and interconnections entwined with our sensual realities, we have a greater ability to write (or paint/dance/draw) them.

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