Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Canal with Mystery and Water

Two more canals, top 9x12 oil on mdf panel, and bottom 9x12 pastel drawing.

In his book The Experience of Place, Tony Hiss cites some experts, who studied people's reactions to the natural environment:  "Dr. Falk, the grass expert, thinks that we may have inborn responses to several other parts of the natural landscape.  'I'd be amazed if the preference for water in the landscape doesn't prove to be innate,' he told me. 'We've learned that we have to avoid water in any of the pictures we show subjects.  It's so highly preferred that its very presence will raise preference by an order of magnitude.'
   Drs. Stephen and Rachel Kaplan, a husband-and-wife team of research psychologists at the University of Michigan, think that we may have an inborn preference for winding paths, which provide what they call 'mystery': Landscapes exhibit 'mystery' when they 'give the impression that one could accquire new information if one were to travel deeper into the scene.'  According to the Kaplans, who have looked at how people respond to a diversity of environments, 'mystery ... is a factor of great power in predicting preference for scenes of the outdoor environment.'"

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