The above painting is one of mine that many have said looks like a photograph. For some reason the images in the blog are not as sharp as they really are. They are a little blurred, not crisp. Although it is not my goal or desire to paint photographic realism, some of my work comes across as being photographic. I just like to do detailed work and the category my work is in, is Realism.
As I have stated in previous blogs, I love all types of art but everything that makes me, me is drawn to detail and realism.
I think a lot of it has to do with my personality and temperament. I have always been all about the small details in every area of life. For instance, even from an early age, as a child, I could identify every bird in my area in flight from a great distance. It puzzled me that other kids my age could not tell the difference from a starling and a common Grackle just by the combination of its silhouette and mannerism in flight.
I have always paid attention to the details of the wild plants that I saw in the woods near my house. I could spent hours just finding the woodland wild flowers and then looking them up in a book that identified them. I would then go to the encyclopedia and read everything I could on them. I had a special love for Jack in the Pulpits and Lady Slipper Orchids.
This love for details transferred into my love for art as well. I liked to capture the details of a Tufted Titmouse or a Jack in the Pulpit in some of my earliest drawings. As I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs, I spent hours and hours in first grade, doing a pencil drawing of a copy of the cover of a children’s book, with great detail.
Even though I have experimented with all types of art styles, the one thing that has always been a constant for me, is my continually coming back to realism.
I have to be honest with you. The main reason that I became disillusioned with art in the 70’s was that the art universities and the critics seemed to be down on Realism at the time. All of the awards were going to the new, more contemporary, styles. I could feel the pressure to conform to the style of art the instructors and the art community wanted me to do, and I was good at, but I was not happy. I got awards with it and never got a grade less that an A on any one assignment but, and that is a big but, it was not me!!! I tried. I could appreciate the new styles and the new direction, but it just wasn’t me. It just wasn’t the kind of art that made me feel good. It wasn’t the kind of art that I could just sit and look at for hours.
Needless to say, I was a square peg in a round hole.
This brings me to my philosophy on art. Do the kind of art that makes you happy and forget the art critics of the would!! Collect and hang on your wall the kind of art that you love. Who made them the gate keepers anyway! Anyone can criticize. The age old saying that applies to life also applies to art in my opinion. “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
On twitter the other day I saw a post from one art lover to another that said something like this. “Realism, where is the talent in that. Any one can copy something.” My response to that is, there is a lot more that goes into a realism painting than just the ability to paint a picture that looks like a photograph. What makes a great painting is a combination of many things like subject matter and composition. Is the composition strong, can it stand alone? Does the artist use light and shadow? Can you actually feel the Sun shine? Other elements that are important are the use of color, the use of texture. Are there multiple focal points? Is your eye drawn into the painting and not off of the page? The list can go on and on!!!! A book could be written just about these topics. These are all topics for future blogs.
As you can see there is a lot that goes into a great realism painting not just the ability to copy something or for that matter an abstract or impressionistic painting.
In answer to that critic, I would say, “let’s support one another and not criticize other artist that are not just like us.” I have never criticized another artist or their work. I think that we are all unique and have different talents and abilities and that we need to be ourselves and not care if someone criticizes us, for being us.
When you are true to yourself and are truly content with your work, who cares what an art critic says!!!!
One thought, how can you be happy when you are criticizing someone else or their work? I don’t know about you, but I can’t!