A recent visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art put me face to face with a wonderful work by Monet, Ice Floes. This is a stunning work, capturing a high degree of control in value and color. What I find fascinating about works like this is the level of objective awareness that the artist needed to have regarding so many of their decisions to pull off a harmonious, well balance painting - composition, mark making, edge control, as well as control of the afore mentioned color and value.
One does not just look at a winter landscape and see this scene. It is a contrived experience, based upon direct observation, - inspired by nature but not beholden to it. It is through these deliberate choices that Monet is able to better clarify his experience of the moment and pass that intent onto us, the viewer. Far too often I see artists beholden to their references, thinking that photography and/or nature offers the truth of seeing. Art is a process which the artist's mind and hand interpret the world and projects the reshuffled results as a new, distilled experience.
Step away from the mind set that art needs to record and let us understand what it is that you 'see'.