“You have to choose where you look, and in making that choice you eliminate entire worlds.”
– Barbara Bloom
Artists crop reality. That’s what makes us artists. We choose what to include and what not to include – this is the biggest and most important decision to be made about each piece. We seek a pleasing arrangement of the objects we include – this is composition. But more fundamental than composition is decisions about what is there and what isn’t.
My personal experience is that this “reality cropping” goes beyond our artwork and actually directs the way we see. We actively filter our visual reality according to our artistic intentions. For example, if I am interested in painting abstracts, I seem to notice more abstract shapes and colors around me. If I’m working on a series of plant and flower images, I notice more blossoms and blooms than before. My eye naturally goes to them – the reality is the same as it’s always been but I’m processing it in a different way. One of the great benefits of being an artist is the way in which our visual sense is sharpened and expanded in a way that alters our experience of the world.