6 levels of seeing

Still Life by Peter Inglis

This is one of the first still life paintings I did after I came across the Chevreaux Colour System, which we use in each class.

People without training will see art on the surface level, and that is fine.

As you development your of Art Literacy, you begin to 'see' art in six discrete ways: 1. Idea, 2. Form , 3. Idiom, 4. Structure, 5. Craft and 6. Surface.

Seeing from the outside - in.

Let's see how I used these steps to paint this still life.

1. Idea

Show the light on a pear ... and on a strawberry.

2. Form

Use an acrylic painting as the medium.
We use the extremely versatile medium of acrylic paint. It allows us to simulate everything from oil paints to watercolour.

3. Idiom

Impressionist Still Life.

Idiom equals style. Impressionism is mainly about exploring how light falls on objects, so that is a natural choice for this painting.

4. Structure

This is where we work out the composition. What are the big shapes? How to they relate to each other? Is there perspective? What are the angles, the rhythms?

4. Structure

5. Craft

What are the techniques used to create the work? Where do you start? What are the processes?

5. Craft

6. Surface

The final result. This is what most people 'see' when they look at your artwork. People with training in Art Literacy will see 'beneath the surface'.

6. Surface

Develop your Art Literacy by painting masterworks!

Thanks to the artist and scholar Scott McLoud for elucidating the six steps of artistry in his great book " Understanding Comics".