Understanding Individual Perspective

Here is a map illustrating how to develop a visual arts project.

Shortly after writing this I will pack up paints, brushes, palette, canvas and a rag or two and walk a few blocks to a weekly time out from sitting in front of my laptop. It’s a course in acrylic painting for beginners offered by Avenue Road Arts School in Toronto. Our instructor, Sadko Hadzihasanovic, (We stick to calling him Sadko) guides six rank beginners including myself, and some more experienced students to work our way through form, tone, colour mixing and other mysteries of the visual art world . His own work is original and avant garde and can be viewed at http://www.ccca.ca/; but what he is teaching us involves the basics of painting in this medium.

At the end of each class, we have a mini show where he comments on our work. We generally sit in a half circle around the still life that is set up, but a couple of weeks ago he showed us how to draw a grid over a portrait and then try to reproduce the drawing accurately to scale before proceeding to the painting stage. In both these situations, one would expect some sameness, but the resulting student works are always very different in perspectiveand unique in style.

In the first case what we see depends upon the perspective from which we are viewing it. If one is straight in front of the subject, it’s natural to turn the canvas sideways. If one is on the end, it immediately works better in portrait orientation. But when we all used the same grid, one would think that the results would be identical. They couldn’t have been more different.

What this proves is that we don’t see things the same way at all. And that’s true in life too. So the next time you run up against a different perspective at home or at the office, take the time to explore how you see things more fully with your colleagues or family. Try mapping the differences or using the HBDI model to explore the different ways of thinking about things. It’s a way of creating better understanding – and also a lesson in humility!