Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Art as Reality

Art as reality. I'm a long-established "paint-slinger," and I've had people comment on my art that it looks so real it could be a photograph. Even my husband jokes that I've got cameras at the end of my fingers.

I say, "Thank you," politely, but there has always been a reservation in my mind: I don't think most photographs look that real. Great masters of photography, of course, are the exception, and I think it's not just the eye of the creator, but the soul, that in its perception of another soul, elicits the inward features that the camera cannot see. There is a gesture or a twinkle that captures the personality and character of human being, no matter how young or old. The same is true of landscapes, still lifes, flowers, and, as far as I know, abstraction.

There is a pull of enchantment that I can only see as ultra-reality. Magic is everywhere, and it's real. What do you think?

-- Nancy


Ron said...

I am a nascent/budding photographer and have quickly learned the difference between photographs and snapshots. I have decent equipment now and only lack the minor thing called skills to use it. My "skills development" plan has several parts. First, as you well understand, is composition. What do I want to say? capture? Next, is technical. Next, and in digital photography, not a minor function, is image management (filing, labeling, etc.). I use Adobe Lightroom for this. Lastly, using Photoshop, I try to fix the problems I created in steps one and two and, sometimes, create something entirely new.

I have a life-time of learning yet to do and probably not that much time left to accomplish it so I should get busy.

We are on vacation in Myrtle Beach, SC this week (Hilton Head the next) and I have several photo (training) sessions planned. Today I will be working with sea oats, sand, and shells. Tomorrow,?

Nancy Park said...

Ron, my training in the "golden mean" is applicable in photography. When you divide a canvas or a photo setup into segments that smaller segments can nestle into, your composition is tight. Later, you may want to experiment with dynamics that set up tension and lead the eye away from the focal point, but the focal point must be very strong, or you set up a tension in the viewer that is uncomfortable.

Some of the best photographers I know head for the beach or the western mountains. the sparser the contents of the composition, the more likely it is to work for you.

If you're proficient in Photoshop, you can correct some of the things you can't avoid in photography, such as background clutter (add an adjustment layer and soften it)or focal image point (Enlarge it, add contrast or chiaroscuro, go to layers and get a drop shadow or outer glow -- the list is endless).

Isn't technology wonderful?

-- Nancy

Unknown said...


I love the idea that art can capture the essence of a thing -- and in doing so, be more realistic than a photograph. And I think your art does that wonderfully!

This may sound silly, but in the portrait you painted of me & Billy, you painted my hairstyle -- not how it was, but how I've always wanted it to be. Several months back, I had a very important occasion and felt like my hair needed to be perfect -- so I took a photo of the portrait to the stylist with me. I got some strange looks, but by golly, I got a good hair cut! :-)

I'm so glad you have a blog to share your artistic insights with us!

- Angela M. (http://blog.craftygoat.com)