What do you see?

During the East Austin Studio Tour (EAST) of 2018, I set up a station in the studio near my Undercurrents series. I painted three abstract watercolor shapes on separate pieces of 8″x10″ paper and labeled them 1, 2, 3. There was a sign prompting: “What emotion/feeling/word first comes to mind when you see each of these figures?” followed by a little disclaimer “There is no wrong answer, I am curious as to what you think.” I set out pieces of paper with numbers 1, 2, 3 on each along with pencils and a dropbox.

People were a little hesitant to participate, at first. But as the tour gathered momentum, people gained confidence and began filling out little pieces of paper with that they “saw” in drawings 1, 2, 3.


It was interesting to see how people participated and what everyone wrote. There were people of all ages, races, sexes, etc. At one point during the beginning when my back was turned, someone drew some perverted stuff on one of the drawings. While the technique was impressive (and realistic), I was super annoyed with the disrespect. I was able to quickly repaint and put a new sample out. I will definitely take the credit for being inspirational. 😉

The results were in the hundreds, everything from abstract to literal. This past EAST (Nov 2019) I hung the bulk of them on the wall for people to see. It was interesting to overhear what people thought. Lots of giggles, awes, and “oh yeah, I see that.” Some of the results are listed below. I’d like to do more experimenting in the future. It is beneficial and motivating to hear how people react to shapes and visuals.


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What do you see?



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