Added on by Elissa Swanger.

"'seeing things' is an act of comparison, memory, labeling, and fiction."-Laurie Anderson

I keep returning to this quote from Laurie Anderson from her wonderful interview on She conveys succinctly how complicated and malleable the process of seeing really is.  I had noticed even as a child when I drew from life, how what I was observing seemed to change the longer and harder I looked.  Anderson's quote reminds me that, similar to the way that memories shift and evolve, how and in fact, what, we see is as much about what we are bringing to the act of seeing as it is about what it is we see. Looking and rendering can feel like claiming an object or scene, and then releasing it.  It can feel like naming something or admitting a mystery. For me as I paint or draw, how I see can be possessive, generous, melancholy or celebratory, sometimes even all of the above over the course of one art making session.