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ART BLOG article

People-Watching

I was inspired by Alison Knox’s line: “I love hanging out at a coffee shop or cafe and simply paying close attention to how individuals have put their outfit together, use of color, texture, shape and silhouette can be such a creative catalyst for me.”

I think we all people-watch from our own perspective and we notice something different. For instance…
A hair stylist might check out haircuts or hair color…
My daughters focus on girls their age and their outfits… My husband, a coach, would probably only see the athletes… My sister-in-law always looks for diversity and the possibility of interesting conversations…
My niece would notice relationships—trying to figure out who people are to each other.

Me, I like watching people who are relaxed, happy, and enjoying the beauty of the day. I take advantage of places like a coffee shop or Farmers Market—anywhere people are milling around enjoying themselves and a total bonus if there’s some natural light.

Lady at Farmers Market with light green top, black skirt, colorful basket
What a lucky find when I spotted this beautiful lady—with her lime green top, black skirt, colorful baskets, the strong orange tent in the background, and the cast shadows.

I naturally am on the lookout for colors, a dramatic angle of the sun, shadows, interesting backgrounds, and so on. I snap a lot of photos as I’m hanging out and many of them become the subject of paintings. Here are some of those snapshots and the paintings they inspired.

We all have our own perspective, viewpoint and interests. What do you tend to notice? You might want to try practicing noticing something different the next time you’re in a familiar people-watching spot.

And I’ve got a GREAT opportunity coming up where you can share your own viewpoint, explore what you noticed, and tell a visual story about it.

Join me for my upcoming Farmers Market Painting Classes, starting in June. Seasoned and beginning painters alike love this class. You get both the delight of looking around the bustling Saturday Farmers Market and choosing an object to paint that catches your eye–along with plenty of time and instruction back in the studio as you paint what you see.

Summer dates: June 8, July 13 and August 10. Summer weekends fill up quickly, so please reserve your spot now.

Annie Salness

Artist, wife, mother of 4 great kids!, lifelong learner and fine art teacher.

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