the periphery of interest

Contrary to the center of interest is the periphery of interest.

detail potatoes

I was reading a list of forms of cognitive bias and ANCHORING caught my attention. I found it defined as “the common human tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information offered.” It hinders decision making — and hence invention — by getting a person stuck at square one.

In art, it’s certainly true, that the artist who is too focused on the “center of interest” (or as I like to call it the “nexus of focal attention” or the “convergence of visual acuity” or the “intersection of visual collision” or sometimes as simply “the point of no return”) —  as I was saying: such an artist might fail to see the forest because of the humongous big tree blocking his view when his whole face is covered with its leaves.

koi-swimming-above-the-trees

I realize I’m babbling — maybe ranting — but I did say that I was turning my blog into a sort of diary.  And in a “It’s My Party and I’ll Cry If I Want to” sort of way, I permit myself an occasional rant from time to time.

I don’t like the concept of “a center of interest.”  Does it show? I file it under cognitive bias. I’m glad to see it has a name, anchoring.

The cure is to get the attention moving around again. I like natural attention, myself, that’s my personal preference. Letting your mind move around, willy nilly, as its wont. But if one’s brain has gotten sucked into the vortex, whether that vortex is at the center or somewhere else in the picture, the cure for the bias is to fasten the attention somewhere else. You’ve got to move it around — diffuse it somewhat,  forcibly, if need be.

lizard

In my notes, I envisioned a grid — a desperate grid for the really hard cases — and inside each square of the grid you examine that portion of the picture to see what beauties it holds. And no I don’t stop there.

grill-detail

Then you shift the grid a little and you have new passages, and you gaze into those also. And thus the whole image is like a matrix with many doors. Such a picture (obviously this represents an ideal) is like a shimmering tapestry of decisions and observations.

In ordinary time, the simple habit of following your thoughts in the order in which they occur is good enough at last — as a remedy against art books that posit all kinds of rules, the most insidious of which is the center of interest.

red-eyed-cicada

I give it other names to diminish its charm. If we call the nexus of focal obsession by its other names — such as, the vortex of visual obsequiousness, then we avoid its becoming stronger by means of the “availability cascade,” the tendency of oft-repeated messages to be accepted as true simply because they are oft repeated.

So, pst!   Ipsnay the enter-cay of interest-yay.

vase-of-flowers-inside-boxes.jpg 

 

 

thoughts, words, but no picture

I believe in opposites (a thing and its foil) as a good principle for learning.

crying gal
Updated with a picture: there’s no use crying over Negative Space.

 

My first drawing of the still life naturally focused on the objects. You see the stuff. You draw the contours around the stuff. But I was wondering now if maybe I’d get a better handle on the idea of the painting by looking more closely at the negative spaces. The only problem is that there are no negative spaces to look at — or maybe it’s ALL negative spaces ever since I disassembled the still life.

It’s a small room. Anyway, I didn’t want to be too dependent on the actual still life this time. And I wanted to travel in hero Pierre Bonnard’s shoes a bit.  More about memory.

I guess now’s a good time to look at Bonnard again with the negative spaces particularly in mind.

I just wrote a post about that sort of thing – the spaces between spaces — a day or so ago. That’s probably why I’m thinking about it now. I was looking at the sketch for the still life and wondering how it would be to think about everything that I wasn’t thinking about when I drew it. The task is greatly complicated by the absence of the actual still life!

Nonetheless (never one to be deterred) there are other ways to think about the spaces between things, even when drawing from memory. I can put parts of the still life together temporarily. I can also just have a whack at drawing the stuff between the stuff (even from imagination) and see what new stuff emerges.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

In Defense of Laziness

doll2

I was confessing in the previous post about how much I’ve neglected painting of late.  My attention has been fixed upon other things, and not only have I not been painting, I have not wanted to paint.  I “intend” to work, but don’t.  Little distractions lead me astray. 

I was thinking about it today — about the things that trigger for me a desire to paint.  For me, it’s color.  Even just thoughts about certain color combinations can make me want to paint — though I haven’t tried very hard to use these thoughts to get myself back to work. 

Part of the problem is perhaps about responsibility.  I do believe that being responsible is a central component of one’s character, a core virtue that one wants to possess.  Yes, I do aspire to being a responsible person.  But I have to admit that “responsibility” doesn’t paint pictures.  Sometimes I have done my best painting when I was “goofing off” with an idea.  Sometimes my most productive times have felt more like play than work — good enough to make one feel guilty about the exuberance.

In this unproductive phase, I’m wondering to myself if in order to be more “responsible” in the making of pictures, maybe I need to be more irresponsible.  Perhaps I need a strong dose of play.  Perhaps I am too diligent.  Could I be lacking in a certain kind of essential laziness?  Am I too uptight?    Perhaps the flowers will matter most when they become “just flowers,”  beautiful and useless and transitory like real flowers.  Just simple flowers.