Learning to attend to visual, audible and written contexts more closely than ordinary “looking” requires; learning to notice things that you might otherwise not notice. Observing means learning to take time to notice details in your environment, really seeing – not just looking. Observation can be made through all of the senses.

Impressionist painter Mark Clarke takes his time with his paintings. He does not work under deadlines, and his paintings evolve with each brush stroke. In this video, Clarke explains the beauty of embracing the surprise in art, and the beautiful wonder it brings when you stop to observe the world around you. 


  • Is art “another language”? If so, what is your own way of speaking this language?
  • Is the experience of painting or creating what is really important or is it the actual creation and piece of art? What do you think? 
  • Do you allow your work to change? During class today, note one moment when you allow your work to change like Mark talks about…”from a landscape to a figure or vice versa…”
  • “It’s like taking a road trip and you don’t know where you are going. It can be awful and you get lost, or you’ve reached some destination and it’s a total surprise.” What was a time when you thought one thing would happen but it ended up very differently? 


Eugene artist Mark Clarke is best known for his unique and quietly powerful landscapes of the Willamette Valley. His subjects include the Central Oregon Coast, Fern Ridge, and the rural farmland of Oregon. Some paintings of his begin on location and then are painted on for long periods in his studio. Others are entirely from his imagination, drawn for a lifetime of living in and painting this region. Clarke’s vision of the landscape is soft and luminous, almost dream-like. In school Mark wasn't really encouraged to study much and he'd wished he'd developed better habits.

Work harder. Study harder. I should’ve been learning to draw from subject matter - learning how to draw, learning how to see.