Same place, different eyes / by Jeannine Cook

I was preparing a CD of artwork images for an exhibition proposal yesterday and found it fascinating to look again at the art. The work was done by my dear artist friend, Marjett Schille, and me while we were Artists in Residence on Sapelo Island on the Georgia coast. The Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve (SINERR) staff had generously awarded us these stays on the magical barrier island.

Sometimes, working plein air, Marjett would go off in one direction and I would find something else to paint or draw. Other times, we would settle down side by side to depict basically the same scene. And as I was reminded again, the results are so different. See for yourselves.

On the left is my watercolour, The Green Pond, while on the right is Marjett Schille's watercolour of the same Sapelo pond. The different approach between us points up the innate individuality of each artist. Each of us brings to a work our own experience, choices, eye, technical expertise and individual passion and concern. We thus make different choices as to what to feature, what to emphasise and highlight, what mood to portray. Some of these choices are subconscious, deriving from knowledge of the area and concerns about it. Others are very conscious and fall into the domain of artistic technique and skill.

Such diverse results enrich the public discourse about art, individuality and each artist's unique eye. The artist's eye, or - in essence - hallmark, enables that artist to produce work that is recognisable and coherent for the viewing public, even with diversity of subject matter. I loved being able to measure the divergences and convergences in Marjett's and my work as we both celebrate Sapelo's peaceful Green Pond.