Ideally, for an artist, painting should occur at the subconscious level, as if by intuition. To achieve this, I first train the conscience until the conscious thought is no longer necessary to control the hand, and the hand becomes a free-flow of the mind. Transformed individuals become exceptional artists.
My strategy is based on clearing the vision of the artist-to-be from any adopted limitations such as assumed views, habitual brushwork and “style”. Having a style is not bad, but a style, acquired before the ability to see, is mannerism, not a real style. Once the “clearing” is established, the true process of training-the-mind-to-see can begin. The first step to accessing one’s unlimited artistic potential is through learning by observation. An explanation must precede observation. Otherwise, the observation – no matter how intense – by itself can rarely result in Artistic Seeing.
What I found through working with hundreds of students over a period of 30 years is that it takes approximately 12 hours to prepare the beginner for this transformation. This process of accelerated learning is based on altering the habitual way of responding to visual information. Individualized assignments and specific exercises lead to breaking through the normal limits of the individual’s perception to help their mind to see, rewiring the brain for seeing newly. Students experience a life-changing shift in their perception of the visual world. They are surprised to find “seeing” to be such a profound experience.
This is a phenomenon occurring inside the necessity to depict. Artists become aware of the fact that visual information is a range of simultaneous optical illusions in color, light, shape and distance. To reproduce these effects on a surface, the painter must know the laws of perception. This is what the beginner classes are about. In order to create an interpretation convincing to the viewer, the artist must learn the craft of creating a convincing illusion (in abstract art as well as realistic) where the believability depends upon the artist’s own understanding of the laws of perception, ability to see, and their control over the technical means (the skill).