A sheet of nice paper and a set of pastels were placed before me and I was tasked to draw something. I proceeded to draw a pond, I liked ponds and enjoy the activities my family did near ponds. So I drew an oval and colored it in. Sitting back I quickly realized that this blue oval had very little resemblance to a pond. I briefly panicked! How could I have screwed up something as simple as a pond and on the one and only sheet of paper I had? “Well, draw something else!” she said. So I turned the blue oval into a fish by adding a tail, fins, and face… whew, tragedy avoided! I was four years old and my mother had hired a college art student to babysit my brothers and I. My next pond looked much more like the real thing.
Even without knowing the name of what went wrong, I knew the blue oval would never be seen as a pond. It was quite a few years later when I learned that perspective was why my pond didn’t look correct.
I think that humans naturally learn through manipulating our surroundings, through trial and error, we come to understand how things work and how we can combine objects to create more and more complex contraptions, drawings, music, etc. Even while thinking, for instance, I must first visualize the object(s) in my head before I can begin to understand how I might manipulate the actual objects. Often times, while working on the actual thing, I realize what I thought of can’t be done, or at least not in the way I thought. Just try something else!