Tutoria 11 – Seeing vs looking.

As we go about our daily lives….we spend a lot of time looking, but how much do we actually see?

The play of light and shadow with its constant change, needs to be acutely observed.

Frame 1.

In this image, using watercolour  and a felt tip pen to sketch pen – I am acutely aware of the play of light and shadow.   The addition of felt tip pen over the watercolour gives a sense of energy.

Scribbling, or cross hatching on newspaper with a felt tip pen….can be very liberating and is an excellent warm up exercise. 


The more we see, the more likely we are to observe triggers which feed the imagination. 

For example.    This weekend, I read about the annual elephant festival in Jaipur, Rajasthan.    Immediately in my mind’s eye, I imagined hummingbirds painted onto the elephants…which in turn symbolised for me the interconnectedness of life.    

I was also reminded of a time when I saw an elephant in captivity, and to this day, the sadness in that elephant’s eye haunts me.

In this image, I wanted to give the elephant back its dignity with a eye full of wisdom and life.

Frame 2.

Painted elephant.


Triggers are an important reason to carry a sketch/notebook at all times.

Begin to feed your imagination as you would feed your body with nourishing food.

‘Those who dream by day are cognisant of many things that escape those who dream only at night’.  Edgar Allan Poe. 

A Bientôt


8 thoughts on “Tutoria 11 – Seeing vs looking.

    1. janetweightreed

      Hi Dina….yes, it’s something I will never forget….the deep sadness in the elephant’s eye….and of course the more we learn about these magnificent creatures, we realise just how intelligent and sociable they area.

      I began my career forty years ago as a wildlife painter, and so I am coming full circle, but now with a much deeper understanding.

      Sending you lots of loving hummingbirds:)xxxx

  1. Allison Chaney

    I really love the water color. The contrasts especially. The elephant reminds me of an outer life that we all have, especially us artists, that is completely there but can’t be seen with the naked eye. Good work.

  2. ShimonZ

    I never thought much about the difference between looking and seeing, but of course you are right. And what’s more… there’s a general reception that an artist can attain, which is beyond seeing… it comes with the focusing on the subject, and includes listening, the reception of vibrations, and the awareness of the presence of the subject. Sometimes the unseen can be translated into an image too.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Thank you very much for this comment…I believe that it is key for the artist to tap into the unseen vibrations and presence of their subject….in order to really capture the essence.

  3. kathryningrid

    Good old Edgar. He knew. Even if it ultimately gave him nightmares, his sorrow became our wealth, because he made art of it. How much better if we can make our dreams and art merge in joy. Your work *gives* me great joy, and I can only hope it does you as you make it as well. 🙂


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