What are you seeing?

Someone asked me the other day, “how do I decide what to paint?” It’s a good question and one I get asked a lot in my classes. I know it has to come from the heart, it has to stir something in me. Then I came across this quote from Degas, and it got me thinking…..

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see” ~ Edgar Degas

This painting is one of my Midnight Marauder series from First Arm in Doubtful Sound. In the wildness and feeling the closeness…

“Midnight Marauders” – Doubtful Sound, oil on canvas, 35x60cm

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness” – John Muir

I know what it stirred in me… but what do you see?

Let me know….

You can see more if my paintings at www.ianhamlin.co.nz

27 thoughts on “What are you seeing?

      1. I tried last night to comment on your chairs post but my computer shut down. Here is Oklahoma City we have a memorial with 168 chair to honor the 168 lives lost in the April 19, 1995 booming. I loved the white chairs in that one all different sizes that was so touching.
        Here’s a link so you can see the chair in OKC.


      2. Thanks for the link, I checked it out and I really like the Oklahoma chairs, especially the light beneath each one – they’re beautiful, and the memorial is a very elegant recognition of light of each soul that sits there. The Christchurch chairs are still a temporary installation while the reconstruction takes place. But they are very poignant in their differentness – highlighting the individual that was lost. Lovely to hear from you again!, Michele Marie!


      3. Thank you so much! I’m happy you liked them! They are breathtaking at night! I loved the little white chair! It’s very moving in all white! Either way I think folks that want to remember someone in such a way should be honored. I know I do! It’s very humbling and brings to the forefront just how short life is or can be! That’s why we should live today to the fullest! I think! I’ll be back of course! I was taking a WP break for awhile concentrating on my work and my daughter I feel some release there so I’m thankful to move on to a new chapter! ๐Ÿ˜€ Have a super day! ๐Ÿ˜€ I always smile when I see your visits! ๐Ÿ˜€


  1. Initially, I saw a beautiful and majestic rendering of a large, wild place. My heart is always captured by your use of light and shadows. When I tried to think beyond that, I got stuck. I’ve never been to a place like this. I couldn’t feel it. It reminds me of documentaries I’ve seen on the Venezuelan Amazon. As I thought about how such a place would feel, I felt a deep sense of yearning and a bit of sadness. I want the painting to be bigger. I want it to be louder. And I want it to surround me with mist.

    Beautiful painting and interesting question :-).

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I see the wonder of being in the bush where no man has been…a secret place…and I can hear the birds that echo in the dead calm stillness and the smell of the forrest that surrounds as I look from the bottom by the rivers edge up to the beauty of life above…Love your work… it takes you places in your mind. Beautiful


  3. first – lovely painting ๐Ÿ™‚ and then to answer your question….. I ‘see’ beyond the falls, through the mist, and into the unknown! The Light, pulls me towards the upper left, into that uncharted unseen realm. also, this has a great balance of tones, textures, colour all in the progressively less intense amounts as the eye travels into the background. This is excellent! I love the ratio of Light tone to darks in the painting, it sets the mood/feeling, making it feel quite dreamy and ethereal.


    1. Fascinating, I wrote a bit of a treatise on this subject today as well. And like you Jeni, it’s at least as much about what I see as what I feel. This painting — like all the work of Ian’s I’ve seen so far — presents a mood which prevails — presides, even — over its forms.

      It’s like that when I create, as well. Especially with words, but also with photographs. It’s not what I see or feel, but the emotions I evoke in others, because I cannot hope to simply transfer my own vision or emotions directly to them. I can only hope to reproduce a set of conditions they are familiar with, have already had an emotional response to, which those artistic choices can trigger.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Interesting discussion. Thanks for adding your thoughts, Patrick. I find that I observe all the time but don’t try to reproduce anything realistically and it becomes an intuitive expression. There’s so many different ways of being in the world… all valid and wonderful.


      2. A very interesting discussion that really speaks to the heart of creativity in my view; why do I paint?what am I trying to say? There are many forms that this expression takes and for me the subject is merely the starting point to some kind of transportation to the universe beyond. It can be realistic or abstract but I think the key is to point towards something else that connects and inspires…

        Liked by 1 person

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