It's about the art

This blog has moved - please visit my new home at

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


"Sand Verbena" 8x10 oil on panel 2006

I've had a thought percolating through my brain about vision, illusion and art. When I'm painting, I'm trying to create an illusion of a location. And while I'm standing there, the retinas of my eyes are being bombarded with the complete spectrum of visible light. Based on the electrical response of four different types of receptors in my retina, my brain constructs a mental picture of the scene. The details I am aware of are shaped by how my brain and the wiring of the receptors in my eyes interact. From this pattern of electrical response in my brain, I mix together 7 different pigments and apply them in a suspension of oil on a panel. So there are several levels of translation between the experience of a location and the painting that is the product of that experience. Of course you're experiencing the image of the painting above through yet another series of translations (digital camera to computer to internet to your screen).

Another way to say this is that since each pigment I use has unique spectral qualities, that it reflects a particular pattern of wavelenths of light, I am tricking the eyes of the viewer into believing they are seeing more colors than they really are. And to achieve this I am manipulating the limitations of having only 4 types of receptors in the human retina.

And before you decide that I'm truly over the science geek deep end (probably too late for that), what this all means is that I'm trying to create a series of illusions with a limited pallete. And what makes my art unique is in part the way my brain interprets the information from my eyes.


Post a Comment

<< Home