The Art of Seeing

Landscape oil painting by Melody Phaneuf

Echoes, oil study by Melody Phaneuf


I recently had a conversation with a young artist that I mentor about the brilliance of the early spring light. She sees it as much more brilliant this year. Is it? Perhaps, but I suspect that it has more to do with her growing sensitivity to the visual world. When an artist learns to see, many veils are lifted.

This kind of vision comes with acceptance of the visual experience without reliance on ideas of what we think we see. We think that black is dark and white is light, but visual truth demonstrates a black road in sunlight much lighter than a white house in shadow.

The expanding awareness of visual experience frees the artist to observe fascinating patterns of light and shadow, rhythms of line, firm and melted edges along with textural contrasts. There is delight in the sudden dark punctuation of glowing color by a bird in flight; the world is beheld for its amazing visual interactions.

Perhaps this process is unfolding within my young artist friend. Or possibly, the spring light could just be brighter this year~


Melody Phaneuf is an award-winning Boston Artist, well known for her evocative still life, landscape, and portrait paintings. She has exhibited at The National Arts Club in New York City, Galerie Herouet in Paris, and with Art du Monde, in Japan. Her paintings are regularly on view at The Guild of Boston Artists in Boston, Ma; North Shore Arts in Gloucester, Ma; and Patricia Hutton Galleries in Doylestown, Pa.

Phaneuf maintains a studio at Fenway Studios in Boston, where she paints and holds workshops, continuing the Boston School lineage.

Melody The Artist Home, founded with photographer and color specialist, Martha DiMeo, features Phaneuf’s original oil paintings on tumbled marble tile murals and beverage coasters, fine art prints, and handmade note cards.

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