Observing Kristen
a qwriting.qc.cuny.edu blog
Sunlight Connection
Posted on February 8th, 2011 at 8:57 pm by kristen88 and

Since the first day of class, I have become much more aware and alert of my surroundings. I am looking around a lot more when I drive and especially when I walk. There is a difference however between seeing something and actually observing something. We do both with our eyes, but when we observe, our brain clicks, and the image is imprinted in our heads of what is in front of our eyes. I have started to pay attention to myself when I observe, and what goes on between my eyes and my brain. The connection between the eyes and brain is like Jonathan Crary says in “Modernizing Vision.” “Nerves in the human body have been accurately compared to telegraph wires. Such a wire conducts one single kind of electric current and no other; it may be stronger, it may be weaker, it may move in either direction; it has no other qualiative differences.” (42) The way you look at something is what makes the connection to your brain either weak or strong, in observing and taking mental pictures in your head.
When we look at Turners paintings we notice that he really looks at and observes his surroundings. He uses the sunlight to illuminate the colors of his artwork. “It is often said that Turner had only two true subjects: the anatomy of light and what Ruskin nicely called the “palpitation” vitality of paint itself.” (The Patriot:The New Yorker) In all of Turners paintings you can see the presence of light. “For what was often involved was the experience of staring directly into the sun, of sunlight searing itself into the body, palpably disturbing it into proliferation of incandescent color.” (Crary 34) This is how Turner painted and created his artwork. This is why his images might be called “modern” paintings. There were no straight edged or straight lines. There was nothing rigid. Light in certain areas was/is the only thing distinct in his artwork. Other than that, it was just a blend of what he observed after staring into the sun.

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Comments so far:

Link Here | February 15, 2011,

I’m thrilled that our discussion of vision in class is making you more conscious of and attentive to your own visual process. I encourage you to continue to reflect on that, in addition to the course material, in future posts.
What distinctions are you sensing between the way someone like Holmes describes the images produced by a stereoscope and stereographs and the way that Turner portrays his visual subjects? What does Holmes “want” from an image? What about Turner?

Thank you for this first post.

  Dominique |

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