Eyes Wide Open

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Eyes Wide Open

I am often asked how I get my inspiration. The answer is actually pretty simple. I always have my eyes open. I have talked before about art for me being about seeing and deciding. Another way of saying this is that my art begins with acute observation. This occurs on two levels. It starts on the macro scale, and for me it is going on all the time. I am looking for big shapes, texture, the play of light. When I am walking, when I am driving, everywhere I go. Sometimes, even on the way to the mailbox.
Having found something that has caught my eye, the observation starts to zoom in. I do this with the help of a camera. Ideally, I use my big DSLR with the long zoom lens, but I have a point-and-shoot camera that I keep in my vehicle that sometimes fills in and at times the cell phone camera has made do in a pinch. I’m not being too critical at this point (after all, pixels are cheap) but I am looking for subtly different angles, compositions, and such. I am trying to look (and see: they aren’t necessarily the same thing) as carefully as I can.
Notice also, that the deciding has begun. These are trial decisions: I am just trying them on for size as it were. This and not that. These together. This over here, that over there. The ability to edit at this point is somewhat constrained, but I will have much more freedom later.
Later (it may be days, weeks, months or years) at my computer, I will take another deeper look at these images. I may pull out the heavy editing guns. Now I am looking at the value structure of the image. Where are the brightest brights? Where are the darkest darks? Am I going to keep everything? Am I going to combine things? Am I going to move things? Change perspective? I am looking very carefully now and decisions come fast and frequent. Push, pull, twist, shape. Eventually, I am satisfied. I now have a preparatory drawing. Now the real work begins.

About the Author:

Dean Russell Thompson is an Artist and Printmaker working in Loveland, CO.