Ideation is the act of forming a coherent visual comprehension, a sense of recogntion, a perception of what we are looking at. Peculiarly, in painting as in music and other arts, we are more likely to build a convincing perception, or sense of ideation if the visual material of the painting is not overly detailed, delineated or focused but, rather is ( and this sounds paradoxical ) more diffused in focus, more uncertain along the edges because, our vision works through scanning, creating small sequential territories of focus and guessing what is the nature of the visual field before us. If a painting can stimulate our predilection for this type of guessing, a forward, anticipatory type of guessing then, we will find the painting more persuasive. Artists discover this through their own experiments. Turner, Monet, and Hsia Kuei Inness discovered this experience of persuasion through ambiguity just as Leonardo da Vinci earlier discovered a heightened sense of correlation to experience through the blurred edges of his painting via his ” s’fumato” ( or smoky edges) technique. These artists also learned that they could deliver a more convincing sensation of space through the application of various forms of perspective. One of those fundamental forms of perspective was linear perspective. Other forms included, atmospheric perspective, foveal degradation and amalgamation over distance, color recession, occlusion, and relative motion in relation to distance. As a young artist Monet learned the fundamentals of linear perspective, a form learned through the linear activity of drawing. Linear perspective is acquired through a dependence upon sharply defined lines or edges but, an artist’s strict adherence to this linear foundation will thwart the sensation of space or the credible ideation of a place. Therefore, artists like Monet would break, soften or eliminate much of the linear framework in their application of the principles of linear perspective but, sustain an allusion to its overall design. Here are two examples. The first is young Monet with a more linear painting. The second is a slightly older ( less than ten years) Monet who is now breaking his edges to evoke a stronger sense of ideation of space and light. The second example feels fuller, more saturated with qualities of space, light and physical experience. Both images offer a similar basic design form, an “X” or hourglass structure with an inclined plane following a serpentine pattern back into the painting. The second painting is not only less linear with its broken edges but also, less centered, less symmetrical and therefore, less suspicious. The flutter marks in the later second painting generate a sensation of fullness and correspondence to our experience of variegated foliage. Next, is an example of Hsia Kuei’s work from 800 years ago. Notice that the intervening field of nothing between the foreground and background gives us a feeling of space and, the more pale and vague the distant trees behind the more articulated forward trees offer a feeling of enhanced credibility. Next, observe in J.M.W. Turner’s watercolor sketch of Venice that we perceive much of the idea of builidngs in space without the evidence of delineated windows, architectural features, demarcation between structures or at times even the edges of the buildings themselves. In Turner’s second image, an oil painting, we again experience the buildings of Venice as obscured by fog and therefore, more persuasively present. We create Venice in our mind’s eye which offers a stronger ideation of Venice than having a more delineated description as in an architectect’s drawing. The watercolor is 8×12 and the following oil is 24×37. Finally, I want to show you how an image of mine went from more delineation to less as I pursued a stronger possibility for ideation of space, surface, atmosphere and light. In the painting’s earlier state you see an aggregation of many more delineated shapes. In the later state the image has been purged of much of this. The remaining content has become more blended and dissolved with application of semi-opaque glazes. the perception, the ability to guess, has been heightened along with an accompanying sensation of atmosphere and light. If you are interested in learning more on this subject I suggest Ernst Gombrich’s ” Art and Illusion”.