See Things Differently

What do you see? Make a list of at least six things. Do not use single words such as “washing”, “bus stop”, “road”, “clouds”, or “grass”.

laundry line isle of skye

How about “sun burning through the billowing clouds”, “wind catching the sheets on the line”, “shadow pattern of the wooden fence posts on the road with counterpoint played by white road markings”, and a “seat for Godot in the bus shelter”?

Did I think all this when I stopped to take this photo? No, I was out taking photos for my new reference book for my next Higham Hall workshop. I’d been hoping to find some laundry, as a reference for elements to include in a painting, and that’s what caught my eye, then the pattern on the road. The sun and clouds had been with me all afternoon, so I noticed it only in terms of not looking directly into it. Godot and the bus shelter, that came to me as I was looking at the photo to write this.

What are the thoughts on your list? Post a comment and let me know!

[Edited to add comments from Facebook]

Lyn Asselta: This is a fabulous exercise! Brilliant! I am always asking my students to stop looking for “nouns” (or objects, things).

Julie Rysdale: Smudgy bus stop windows telling the story of who waited; fenced fingers waiting to trip the unwary; green inky grass to smear on the evidence; alphabet shirts flapping their code to whoever will listen; sunshine fleeing the scene of time; the mysterious clouds the only witness to the drama unfolding!

Kit Wells: Refraction of light, bubbling clouds, stark shadow, moisture in air, contre jour washing, division of observed field into classic parts.

Maddy Buckman: Smeary windows, marching pickets in a fence, a peek at fields beyond through the gaps, billowing clouds on the move, lonely chairs in the empty space, soft but definite shadows, washing lifting in a breeze.

8 Replies to “See Things Differently”

  1. benevolent sun
    streaked glass
    shadows like letters in a language I can’t interpret
    gathering clouds
    empty chairs, waiting for people to fill them
    clothing poised to fly

    1. Now I know some that is tape marks from community event posters or info flyers that get stuck up, the tape never comes off without leaving glue lines behind!

  2. I noticed… the battered windows of the shelter, the curved line between the paved road and the grass, a promise of blue sky between the ominous gray clouds, a lonely metal chair and a single sock hanging with matched pairs on the fluttering clothes line

  3. First impression is the strong contrast of light and shade, a closer look, a house with smoke curling up, a letter u, a bactrian camel that has been crossed with both a spiny ant eater and a sheep, crisscrossing lines, socks belonging to a six legged octopus. Could it be that an artist was trying out mark making on the bus shelter, Looks like greasy handprints after a portion of fish and chips.

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