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By Heather Spears

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Extra resources for The Creative Eye: An Artist's Guide to Visual Perception

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If you wear glasses, something of the rims is visible at or near the peripheries, and recorded. The base of the page might be a mess of rough curves – your moving hand and arm. These markings may be so light and sparse they can hardly 6E0EC031-EC89-4CB1-8099-E91DC492923E be seen. They may be vigorous and black. Whatever they are 43 Chapter 2 Creative Eye_005-070 3/8/07 15:00 Page 44 – if you have been able to draw with your attention on the peripheries while gazing at the centre of the field – you are probably looking at the most realistic drawing you ever made in your life.

Some visual processes just close down, yet others keep operating when we have no conscious access to them. I can’t see how this kind of binocular rivalry can be of direct interest to the artist, but the possibility of alternating on-off switches is curious. You have probably seen visual illusions like the duck-cat or the Necker cube, and experienced how only one view is possible attentionally (there is no way you can ‘see’ the duck at the same time as you ‘see’ the cat). Is there a certain wobbly control over how and when you alternate between the images?

Incoherent movement is something else and may The Act of Sight even if they are forever changing, but inextricably organic. well give motion selective cells a big charge. If you have ever watched a cat or dog in its frenzied attempts to catch a darting laser spot, you can imagine something of what goes on in your head. A peculiarity of the motion centre is that it’s a bit slow to kick in. The brain is said to ‘misbind’ motion in time – and in the temporal hierarchy of attributes, motion is the one that comes limping in last, by a measurable 70– 80 microseconds.

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