The Visionary Life

By Teresa West Carter

I am a visual learner. I understand concepts better in pictures. I am constantly observing, and I am convinced my brain contains more images than the entire planet’s iCloud storage. Paul Reber, professor of psychology at Northwestern University writes, “For comparison if your brain worked like a digital video recorder in a television, 2.5 petabytes (your brain’s storage capacity) would be enough to hold three million hours of TV shows. You would have to leave the TV running continuously for more than 300 years to use up all that storage.” Wow. That’s a lot of imagery.

So, with all of the vast amounts of imagery we put into our brains on a daily basis, how does one choose an image to paint, draw or sculpt? I start with the extensive file of images already stored, that is, until I see something new that inspires me (which happens every time I open Instagram). Inspiration is key here. I am drawn to those things that move me, emotionally and spiritually. Then you add in factors like personal taste and those things that intrigue or simply take your breath away when you look at them. For some it is based on a challenge: Can I render that piece of cellophane and make it look real? And for others it’s more about beauty and how to express it, whether it be realism or abstraction.

I have to admit, I’m a bit all over the place when it comes to inspiration and those things I want to explore artistically. I like to try new techniques, I like to paint both realism and abstraction, not to mention expressionism, though I consider myself a master of none, I keep evolving as an artist and hopefully one day I will land on THAT THING. The THING, my THING, style, passion, call it what you will. I do find that I circle back around to portraiture and figurative painting. It’s because I love people. I love their stories and I love capturing a piece of their story. A Visionary Storyteller would be a good title for the kind of artist I am becoming. I say becoming because I truly believe we don’t ever truly arrive. We may stop at an artistic style for a while, but I tend to get bored and want to explore. (I am very curious about cold wax oil painting at the moment – so stay tuned).

The key, I believe, to a life of creative discovery, is to never stop learning or exploring. While others may be content to sit in their artistic pocket (which is totally fine mind you) I on the other hand will always be curious, at least I hope so.

Thanks for coming on the journey with me.