Let me show you my best painting secret!
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When we believe what we see, we allow the magic to happen
Is seeing believing? Maybe in some cases. In art however, when you believe what you see then you allow the magic to happen.
We know the phrase " too see like an artist" and we know that it applies to the technical things like seeing the shapes and values in a scene. It is much more than technique though. What is often overlooked is that the artist must see what will create the magic for the viewer.
The illusionist relies on sleight of hand to fool the audience. We believe and call it magic. The unexplained takes on a mystery of its own and it enthralls us. Yes we know it is a trick, but we accept the bargain because of what we get in return. A moment of joy, wonder and escape. Is this not what we also get from art that moves us?
How does the artist make us believe? Take for example the above painting by Turner. A scene filled with light, wonder and mystery. In reality it is a train charging across a bridge at the height on England's industrial revolution. Spewing smoke and shrieking noise in a grimy industrial setting. We would usually hasten away from this awful reality. But the artist has seen something else.
Using his mastery of the medium Turner has created a painting that makes us stare at it in wonder. We try to fathom what is going on and look for other details. Our minds seek out images as we peer into the golden mist and smoke. What is bearing down upon us? Our mind says it is a train, but our imaginations see a fiery maw charging towards us. Magic.
The painting hooks us in. Why? Deep down we are part of a shared experience. At once repelled and also drawn in. There is more than our first impression of an everyday. There is something beautiful too. Would we see this without the magic of believing in the artist's work?
What would life be without these illusions that we accept so readily? Unacceptably dull and appallingly real. We all want the illusion. To escape and see beyond the material. To believe for a moment.