I Shut My Eyes To See

I Shut My Eyes To See

Paul Gauguin Quote



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I shut my eyes to see; Paul Gauguin unleashing his minds eye to create mental imagery that vividly captures the meaning and essence of his artistic subject

Maybe Paul Gauguin could see more vividly using his visual memory to recreate the essence of a subject than looking past his canvas to see the actual subject.

The Minds Eye


By not using his actual vision he could call upon his minds eye to recreate the subject of his painting and this opens up further dimensions of creativity not available when painting an actual live subject.

A live subject, be it a landscape or a portrait, is limited to what is actually there. Not all the wonderful colours of nature are always available in any one live scene but if you are painting the same scene from your minds eye then you are limited only by what your imagination decides what it wants to add or omit.

It is not just a visual you would be painting from your imagination as you can add meaning to your minds eye image. Using meaning as a visualisation tool opens up an individuals interpretation of a given scene, no two people see the same thing the same way and an individual perspective can produce remarkable results.

The ability to form a mental image in your mind varies from person to person, some people can visualise a mental image to near perfection while others struggle to recapture the actual scene.

I imagine Paul Gauguin had a high capacity for creating mental images and this was probably the catalyst that motivated him to utter the quote "I shut my eyes to see".

There are many dyslexic artists that have been found to have the ability to draw in intricate detail something which they may have only seen one time. Some dyslexic people have proven that using their minds eye they can capture a mental image of something just like a camera snaps a photograph.

I'm unsure if Paul Gauguin was dyslexic, I reasoned that the connection between this quote and the strong mental imagery of many dyslexic people was enough (in my opinion) for suggesting the possible correlation.

Paul Gauguin was a French post-impressionist artist who like many artists before him became famous after his death with some artists like Pablo Picasso from the Avant-Garde era finding his work highly influential.

Michael Joseph


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Art is not what you see, but what you make others see - Edgar Degas