Visualisation : Seeing Thoughts and Ideas

What is Visualisation?

Visualisation is using various media to communicate thought and ideas to other individuals. We use visualisation in our everyday life. It has become an integral part of human communication. Throughout our history, we have relied on visual communication of our ideas and thoughts. From cave paintings, Egyptian hieroglyphs, Greek geometry, and Leonardo Da Vinci's revolutionary methods of technical drawing for engineering and scientific purposes, we have expanded our ability and means to communicate our thoughts and ideas.

Visualisation in Art

For artists, visualisation is an integral aspect of their creative process. They break down their ideas into elements, visualise and compose them to convey a message or a narrative that the artists want to communicate. They start with a basic sketch and make necessary changes as they go forward with the work. Each artist has an artistic process that they follow. Some artists work in different media, some stick only to one medium. Many explore a lot of ideas, others stick with just one concept.



Guernica by Pablo Picasso


In Picasso's Guernica, he visualises and conveys the agony and pain of war. Picasso has stitched his work with layers of meaning. When you look at the entire mural, we see how it communicates a grim and bleak setting. The work has a monochrome tone that sets the mood for what he is trying to convey.


In the mural, four characters represent women. On the far left, a woman holding a dead child, screaming at the extent of her loss. Next to the screaming woman, there is the statue of a soldier present below. His broken body lies in pieces, his arm clutching a splintered sword symbolising ultimate defeat. Another woman attempts to flee the devastation. But her other leg appears rooted to the spot, locked in the corner of the canvas. Another victim appears behind this figure.

These four subjects border the painting, enclosing it in a state of pain and agony. A woman is peeking outside the window, holding a lamp. This perhaps signifies hope, right next to that is the light bulb that represents how technology has advanced into modern warfare. Then there are the two most controversial elements, the screaming horse, that some argue symbolises the fascist regimes and the white bull that represents the community.

Through Guernica, Picasso visualises his reaction to the war. Each element conveys an aspect of the artists thought. It is deliberately composed and presented in a way that invites questions rather than state answers.

Interpreting and Perceiving Visual Art

The other half of visual art is interpretation. Any composition can be perceived and interpreted in diverse ways. It depends on the audience, their knowledge, their ability to read and understand art. Some people tend to appreciate art and its aesthetic beauty, whereas others know about the artist's intent and try to read the artwork with that information. Meanwhile others connect it to circumstances in which the artwork was created. In this process of interpretation the artist's visualisation of an idea, which is the artwork, is further extended through the different perceptions that form among the audience.

Art is a visual representation of the artist's ideologies. Visualisation perpetuates life into an idea. The visual elements make the artwork more conceivable. It speaks to the audience about the emotions and ideas that the artist wants to convey. It gives people the pleasure of visually perceiving thoughts in elements and colors, through brilliant compositions and search for answers as the canvas continuously presents you with new questions.

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