Thursday, September 16, 2021

Thursday Thoughts...

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” 

Henry David Thoreau

These words hold true for so many things in life; but in particular for me with art and artworks.

From some of the oddest looking materials to some incredibly put together pieces; from classics through to modern marvels, I think each and every person brings their own personal perceptions to seeing.

One person sees a pile of junk; one person sees a  achingly beautiful commentary on time and ageing.  One person sees a collection of plastic; another person sees non-violent protest about our polluted waterways.
One person sees a woman in a frock; another person sees a feminist icon.
One person sees some slogans. Another person sees victims taking control of the narrative with brave and painful personal disclosures.

And so on and so on it goes.  

I like contesting a viewing in a friendly way. I see what I see. It says to me what it says to me.  There is no real right or wrong. I like to hear what other people see; what it says to others; and then I like to re-imagine the work in my mind having heard their thoughts.

I think Thoreau makes the satisfying distinction between an object and its meaning.

And its meaning is personal.

The Kelpies, near Falkirk in Scotland.


  1. going for a bushwalk is a dream at the moment but still we can dream! (((Fiona))) please excuse my pedantic nature but those fabulous horse heads are The Kelpies not Selkies (mythical seal people) had to google them, here's the link

    1. Thanks again Mo - I am now waiting for my third laugh! I know they are the Kelpies and have visited, but always think Kelpies?/Selkies? And I daresay I still will, one of those things where you double guess yourself even when you're right because you know you have been wrong...It's not pedantic to be right. And they are truly magnificent!

  2. "I like to hear what other people see" ... I whole-heartedly agree!

    And I laugh as I recall a freshman class in which the professor solemnly pointed out the symbolism in one piece of literature after another. Surely, I thought, the authors did not actually intend all that. It was my first and last class in the English department (although I continued to be an avid reader).

    Fast forward to today and the comments that most delight me on my blog are those which point out images and meanings that were completely unintentional on my part!

    Here's to the many ways of seeing and hearing and perceiving our world through the lenses of our unique experiences

    P.S. I love the word "selkie" ... and what magnificent sculptures!

    1. Oh I love that story Liz - I often times don't read for symbolism and miss quite a bit unless people show me those ways. I am sorry that the sculptures aren't really Selkies - they are The Kelpies and for whatever reason I muddle those words up nearly every time - I look at them and go hmmmm which one and took a wrong stab!

  3. F - Both the quote and your comments summarise what often flits through my mind - we see what is in our spirit and in a way what we are looking for, consciously or unconsciously, at the time. B

    1. All with our own unique perspective and experiences...


I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.