Exercises from the book “The Creative Eye.” 1. The Visual Field. This is the second blog and first exercise.
You don’t need any drawing materials for this one. Just sit back and see what is before you. It you’re reading this off a screen, look up (or back up) so more of the room or area you are in can be seen.
What you see before you is your visual field. Try to experience it without choosing anything in particular. If you’re in a lighted room, you’ll see various objects in it, varying tones of darks and lights. Colours correspond to objects or areas. If someone is there and moves, you are aware of it, and if it’s someone familiar you hardly register it. You experience space and depth by a slight shifting of boundaries against backgrounds, or by the blurring of more distant objects and the clarity of those nearby. Ask yourself, where does vision cease and there is nothing?
*Try this: raise your hands and gradually move them farther away from the centre of the field,as you continue to gaze forward. Eventually it happens – you can’t see your hands any more. Explore (without of course shifting your gaze) these vanishing places – overhead, to the sides and along the lower edge of the field. These are the boundaries of the visual field – the peripheries.
Your visual field is yours alone.
So, don’t move your eyes; keep them in ‘neutral’, and let them continue to rest and gaze quietly. If you turn your head or move your eyes, it slips about and changes. As you become aware of it, you’ll be less inclined to allow it to move. Just look. Your focus is in the centre of the field. Now, keeping it there, gradually let yourself become aware of what else is present in your field of vision – till you are able to hold the whole field in your awareness.
This brief act of looking is the first exercise. You are setting out on an exploration of the act of sight, and of how your own, human vision – special to the species, special to you – is central to your art and your creativity.