PEN&INKee^POSSIBILITIES: Seeing the world through a different pair of eyes

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By Kirsten Laskey

I’ll probably never learn to master any type of visual art. Those people who claim they can only draw stick figures? Yep, I am one of them. However, my artistic handicap does not stop me from appreciating what others can do. There has been a lot of ground covered to gain this appreciation.

I’ve toured the Vatican, the Louvre, the Tate, the Museo Reina Sofia; I’ve watched artists mold figurines from soft, palpable glass in Venice and I’ve observed artists painting peonies at the Denver Botanical Gardens.

Courses have been taken and books have been flipped through, but I believe the best education I have received on art came right from the source – an artist.

Taking Art Center Executive Director John Werenko’s art appreciation class opened my eyes to the visual arts in a whole new way. The colors have never looked richer, the light more illuminating or the artists’ intentions more clear.

Take for instance, Impressionism painting, which was the main topic of the class. Previously, when I would look at a Monet or a Renoir painting, I would admire Monet’s dedication to paint haystacks at all hours of the day or the way Renoir made his figures have a dewy, rosy complexion. But my appreciation stopped there. I saw beautiful pictures, but it turned out these paintings were so much more than that.

Monet, Renoir, Degas and other Impressionist artists were actually revolutionary in their time. They challenged people to look at the world differently, to observe everyday objects and events through a different perspective.

They removed all the conventional, clean, finished lines and gave people something new.

Just as these famous painters gave a radical new vision of the world to people, Werenko, who is also an artist, showed me a whole new way to appreciate what these artists achieved.

Taking a field trip to a museum and galleries around Santa Fe showed me that the revolution has not run out of steam and halt way back in history; it continues to thrive and evolve today.

Artists continue to push the boundaries on how we view the world. During the gallery tour, I viewed contemporary paintings, where subjects are abstracted down to the simplest lines or globs of paint.

They prove there are an infinite number of ways to view the world and to follow along with this philosophy is exciting. You just never know what you’ll see.