“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”

Edgar Degas

What does an artist see? How does the artist translate it to others? How does the magic of an art work happen? One of the first things that an artist learns is how to see.  Beginning with rudimentary observation skills to the development of intuitive creating, seeing becomes paramount to the creation of any art work.  Seeing encompasses a large percentage of the creative process. But what is 'seeing'? It is more that just looking at something to copy it.  Seeing involves much deeper and intuitive factors. Seeing allows the artist to take what is before her/him and bring to to a place of significance - bringing it out of the ordinary, of cognizance - making the artist and viewer aware of something new, and transcendence - transforming the moment to a new level of understanding.  

It is within these factors that an art work speaks.  The creative endeavor of an artist aims to reach others with it, allowing the viewer to have a new experience from the work. The artist allows the viewer to see the essence of the subject matter and that brings a new awareness.  This can enrich the soul, it can cause apathy, or it can bring the soul to a place of distress.  In any case, a new understanding is achieved. Art can be about beauty within a dark world but all art does not have to be pretty or positive. This world has its share of tragedy.  The art must be honest and that sometimes, involves showing the world as it is.  The significance rises when a new realization is actualized, seen, and an honest response is given. The experience touches the sublime. Thus making others see is the point of art - to create works that touch the spirit and awaken the transcendent, bringing to the ordinary, the extraordinary. The experience of art should give the viewer a new appreciation of what was once unknown. 

The charge to artists then, is to create work that will engage. It is a sacred charge, a charge that unites and transforms through a created act. It is an act that truly defines us as human.  So until next time, see, create, engage, and enjoy.  

Susan M. Gibbons
Stirring 27
Acrylic and Watersoluble Graphite
on Canvas



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