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Organic Bananas, The FURminator & Blindness

Organic Bananas

Watercolor on Arches Cold-Pressed paper in 5.5 x 7.5 sketchbook
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After working half the day I decided to finally vacuum my house since I was feeling sleepy and not particular creative and the house and studio sorely needed cleaning. I’ve been contentedly choosing painting over housecleaning for too long, and the cat hair was piling up. So I dusted, vacuumed, washed the throw rugs, brushed the kitties with a great new cat and dog brush, the FURminator, that thoroughly removes the undercoat and ends shedding for weeks (the pictures on their website don’t lie–it’s amazing how much fur comes off the first time).

After dinner I was still sleepy but knew I’d be sad if I just turned on the TV and had no fun in the studio at all today. So I grabbed the only produce left in the kitchen (I’ve also been putting off the grocery shopping) and painted these bananas.

While I painted I was listening to a fascinating book, Crashing Through, about a man who was blinded at the age of 3, became a downhill speed skier, an entrepeneur, married, had kids, and a great life. Then he was given the historical opportunity to try an experimental surgery and become one of only 20 people in the history of the world who, after a lifetime of total blindness, had his sight restored, via a stem cell and corneal transplant. The book provides really interesting information about vision and how we make sense of what we see, from distance perception, to 3-dimensionality, to recognizing faces and expressions. It turns out it actually has to do with parts of the brain rather than the eyes and is learned in infancy.

A lot of that information is useful for painting. When the author explains how the brain uses visual clues to judge distance, these are the same things artists use to create the illusion of depth and distance in paintings. These include objects getting smaller the further away they are, closeness to the horizon (the further away or taller something is, the closer to the horizon it is), aerial perspective (the effect of moisture and particles in the air between the distant object and the viewer that causes distant objects to appear grayer, cooler, paler than closer objects), linear perspective, and occlusion (one thing in front of another).