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MikeN
02-10-2009, 02:01 PM
In regards to a recent thread here in CT&M:

I noticed the term "Realism" used frequently when attached to an accurate style of painting. I find the word as ambiguous as descriptions like "temperature" or even "tone".

I thought I would bring the topic up for discussion. For starters I am curious about WC member's thoughts and definitions of the term. I ask what, for you, is realism? Specifically, how is color used "realisticly" in a painting or work of art? Is it merely transferring colors that are seen to a canvas with the upmost precision? Is it something more sophisticated? Possibly, suplementing what is seen with knowlege of a more truthful view? Do you feel that using color "realistically" is a mechanical act, or is it an informed expression?

I look forward to your thoughts.

Mike

Doug Nykoe
02-10-2009, 04:17 PM
If you are using a colour picker, then how could it be anything else but a mechanical act.

wal_t
02-10-2009, 04:56 PM
My feeling is that even in the most realistic painting (wether it is a work of art or not, but that is another discussion :-) both value and color are just simplified approximations of what one sees in nature. We cannot paint the exact same - infinite - values and colors we see .... I think.

Regards, Walter

MikeN
02-10-2009, 04:57 PM
If you are using a colour picker, then how could it be anything else but a mechanical act.

Is a color picker a machine by chance? I don't know of any painters who use one. The question may be more directed towards those who don't use such things.

M

Doug Nykoe
02-10-2009, 05:15 PM
Is a color picker a machine by chance? I don't know of any painters who use one. The question may be more directed towards those who don't use such things.

M


I was referring to Munsell and their chips where you hold up a chip to copy the colour you think it is or closely resembles the chip. Carder method comes to mind as well.

I can not see this anything other than a mechanical means. Which is okay of course; if this method of illustrating what’s in front of you to the canvas is what you want but hardly can be considered the finearts.

MikeN
02-10-2009, 05:21 PM
My feeling is that even in the most realistic painting (wether it is a work of art or not, but that is another discussion :-) both value and color are just simplified approximations of what one sees in nature. We cannot paint the exact same - infinite - values and colors we see .... I think.

Regards, Walter

I happen to agree with you Walter. I would also add that if we could paint exactly as we see (which we cannot), there is no promise that the visual information from single vantage point is helpful in regards to communicating the view two-demensionally.

So what is "realistic"?

nit-wit
02-10-2009, 05:30 PM
I can not see this anything other than a mechanical means. Which is okay of course; if this method of illustrating what’s in front of you to the canvas is what you want but hardly can be considered the finearts.

This can probably be considered as much of a discipline as anything else. And as with anything else some will be able to make an art of it and most won't.

I used to have a friend who sat with me in mathematics lessons at schools, and he could do the sums in his head faster than I could on my pocket calculator. This makes me think of the Munsellists.

Andrew

MikeN
02-10-2009, 05:35 PM
I was referring to Munsell and their chips where you hold up a chip to copy the colour you think it is or closely resembles the chip. Carder method comes to mind as well.

I can not see this anything other than a mechanical means. Which is okay of course; if this method of illustrating what’s in front of you to the canvas is what you want but hardly can be considered the finearts.

I agree that chip matching is a mechanical means. It in itself may or may not be art, but that's not exactly what I was looking for :) Is matching colors on our canvas to what is seen (by mechanical means or other) the most realistic way of depicting a scene or object?

(for anyone else)
Are there ever cases where what is seen is spatially confusing or seemingly obsurd? In such cases, could altering help communicate the truer sense of what is before us? Is this kind of abstracting helping the work become more or less real?

wal_t
02-10-2009, 06:01 PM
It's always so difficult to try and define these things. Show me 2 paintings and the reference scene and I can probably instantly tell you which one is more realistic in color, value, shape or whatever - for me that is, maybe not for you - but asking me to define it in language .... I cannot; maybe in Double Dutch but certainly not in English. I am not at all convinced that trying to copy nature as accurate as possible will give the best realistic painting as end result, I don't know.

I saw in this thread a reference to the Carder method. I saw that too and at least when he uses that method (with a very limited palette) it results in what I would call realistic paintings (but I am not sure about the color as that seems much less important then shape and value approximations to achieve something "realistic").


Regards, Walter

gunzorro
02-10-2009, 06:33 PM
I'm not an expert in realism, but I know it when I run into it. ;)

Doug Nykoe
02-10-2009, 06:49 PM
What is real?

Reality is transitory, therefore--- Linear is transitory, colour is transitory, value is… so the best and only real you can achieve is your own perception of it.

Cézanne compared reality to looking at a bird in flight in which you see the bird in the sky and pretend to grab it in flight and when you think you have it its gone because that’s the nature of reality it’s in constant motion and you can not hold onto it any more than you can with colour etc. So what is left then …well simply ,,,ART Begins at this point.

MikeN
02-10-2009, 06:49 PM
I'm not an expert in realism, but I know it when I run into it. ;)

thats one for the quote books lol :lol:

Einion
02-11-2009, 08:01 AM
In regards to a recent thread here in CT&M:

I noticed the term "Realism" used frequently when attached to an accurate style of painting. I find the word as ambiguous as descriptions like "temperature" or even "tone".
In all fairness, it's clearly nothing like either term.

Tone, used in one way, is merely another term for value. So it's hardly ambiguous per se (yes, it can be used differently to this).

As far as 'temperature' goes, see other thread :)

Realism, alone, is fairly vague it must be said - it does mean different things to different people and there are degrees of realism, where photography might be considered the pinnacle. However there are ways of referring to it that are a little clearer and there tend to be qualifications and clarifications within the writing of a thread such as you refer to above that make the position of the writer more evident. So taking issue with the use of the word Realism out of such a context is actually not much use.

Specifically, how is color used "realisticly" in a painting or work of art?
Like the colour actually is :cool:

Einion

Einion
02-11-2009, 08:14 AM
If you are using a colour picker, then how could it be anything else but a mechanical act.
Is that a rhetorical question or do you actually want someone to try to explain otherwise?

What's mixing colour on the palette with a knife if not a mechanical act? Since that's an everyday artists' activity I don't see that something being mechanical is a bad thing anyway ;)

I can not see this anything other than a mechanical means. Which is okay of course; if this method of illustrating what’s in front of you to the canvas is what you want but hardly can be considered the finearts.
Don't be ridiculous :mad: I'm not going to allow you to malign work done in a more-thorough way with colour - rather than the 'seat of the pants' way I believe was established to be your preference. They're different; doesn't make either less 'fine art' than the other.

What is real?

Reality is transitory, therefore--- Linear is transitory, colour is transitory, value is… so the best and only real you can achieve is your own perception of it.
This is not a philosophical thing to most people Doug and I'd prefer if we tried to stick to substantive points. Just because a moment in time is transitory doesn't mean there aren't better ways (closer, more accurate) of representing it rather than something more impressionist, expressive of the artist's individual colourspace or whatever.

Similar to a point made above: show 100 viewers a scene (even a really good photo of it) and two paintings of it, one done by a High Realist and the other done in any sort of impressionist way and I don't think there's a lot of doubt about which piece would be picked by 99 or 100 of those people as being 'more realistic'.

Einion

Shadia
02-11-2009, 12:34 PM
Interesting topic, for sure!
At that point on my learning curve, I consider "realistic" a painting depicting three dimendions on a two dimensions support.
meaning: representing what light does to the thing I want to paint, using the effects of lights and shadows. This can be done in a very painterly / loose , or in a very tight style, but will still be realistic.
Just my opinion, for what it's worth!
Keep painting!
Shadia

Doug Nykoe
02-11-2009, 03:58 PM
Einion I am not trying to malign anyone’s work but only speaking to art. You are the mod on this forum so mod but why dictate which art must be represented here. Colour is thought of differently across many art disciplines.

What I was saying is true about colour and many a realist will put down Impressionism on a daily basis because it goes against the grain of a realist /// I get that!!! and that’s fine.

What??? All you want is scientific proof then forget about covering all that colour has to offer the artists out there. Science gave up on colour concerning the artist long ago because art is in the mind not the object you are looking at, which gives us a wide berth to create.

Look, Alice Neel gets how linear/reality/colour and so on is transitory and does a great job with it so do countless others from the school of Impressionism and post to today.

Artists need to know how these artists approached such matters because it’s a valid and strong approach to art.
So I am not maligning other artists approaches because there are so many differing ways and last I looked this was WetCanvas not Einions school of colour. If all that is discussed is directed towards the realist alone. This leaves a huge gap that others should or might want to explore.

So its not me against anyone, its about the ART.
Maybe I am WRONG, is this a realist colour forum? Or is this the colour forum? Not sure anymore.

PS If it means anything to you Enion, people have emailed me thanking me for opening there eyes to some of these matters so it does mean something to some and isn’t that what we are trying to do... explore all that colour has to offer? Not just one point of view.:wave:

wal_t
02-11-2009, 05:34 PM
I love those paintings (and some of Rembrandt's self portraits are a good example) that look very realistic from a certain distance but when you look close you see some funny green, pink etc. spots of color. Chuck Close has done even more outspoken things in this area using all sorts of funny shapes/colors in squares. I guess both will be seen as "realistic" painters but when you look close (especially the Chuck Close ones) it is maybe less realistic ..... so it also seems to depend from what distance you view the painting or work of art. I advice you not to use a microscope as then you won't see much realism anymore in any painting :-) greetings, Walter.

gunzorro
02-11-2009, 07:11 PM
Doug -- Perhaps it is time you round up your followers and start your own discussion forum.

Einion
02-11-2009, 07:50 PM
Einion I am not trying to malign anyone’s work but only speaking to art.
Not to point out the obvious but you basically called certain types of highly-realistic painting illustration. That is much like someone classifying Neo-Impressionist work as decorative ;)

You are the mod on this forum so mod but why dictate which art must be represented here.
...
If all that is discussed is directed towards the realist alone. This leaves a huge gap that others should or might want to explore.
Excuse me? If you are suggesting that is what just happened you seriously need to read the above again.

and many a realist will put down Impressionism on a daily basis because it goes against the grain of a realist /// I get that!!! and that’s fine.
And the same in reverse, as we've just seen.

Science gave up on colour concerning the artist long ago because art is in the mind not the object you are looking at, which gives us a wide berth to create.
Oi vey... yeah, science has of course done nothing in the modern era on colourimetry, colour mapping, linguistics of colour, investigations of colour vision & perceptual illusions... none of which is of any use to the artist :rolleyes:

because there are so many differing ways and last I looked this was WetCanvas not Einions school of colour.
Mods can, if they choose, steer the course of a thread. That's all I'm going to say on the subject because moderation is not open to public discussion, so no more on this please.

Maybe I am WRONG, is this a realist colour forum? Or is this the colour forum? Not sure anymore.
Oh please, read the thread title for goodness sakes!

Einion

wal_t
02-12-2009, 02:52 AM
I guess it's fine for anyone to mix & paint how he or she wants. Also don't see why one method is "better" then the other. Myself I have a lack of time and a bit lazy to study the more scientific aspects of color - but interesting it is indeed - but off course, science has brought us a long way.

I heard that Rembrandt did hold his brush in the air and compared the colors on his brush with the subject, but I fail to see him as an illustrator (reminds me, the Carder method is nothing new :-).

Wonder if we have filled Mike's mind with thoughts via this thread ...

Greetings, Walter

Einion
02-12-2009, 06:24 AM
Doug, did you notice that once again, with all that typing you failed to mention realism once?!

If you want to discuss the nature of seeing as it pertains to colour use then start your own thread.

If you want to discuss what is art and what's not then go to Debates.

Einion

ManedWolf
02-15-2009, 05:29 PM
There are paintings that look so much like photographs that you have to look at least twice to see that they really are no photographs. If that isn't 'realism', then what is?
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Feb-2009/151084-PAWPRINT.JPG
Heikki

MikeN
02-15-2009, 05:58 PM
I heard that Rembrandt did hold his brush in the air and compared the colors on his brush with the subject, but I fail to see him as an illustrator (reminds me, the Carder method is nothing new :-).

Wonder if we have filled Mike's mind with thoughts via this thread ...

Greetings, Walter

Sorry for the delayed response everyone, I was in Amsterdam for the weekend :)

Walter your Rembrandt comment is exactly what I am referring to. That being, the measuring of color and its connection to the term realism. Even the most accurate recordings of nature (especially single vantage points) do not necessarily equate to the most realistic representation of an object or space. This is one disadvantage with photography. Cameras must record exactly as they are designed to. Paintings on the other hand are made by people who can enhance imagry by tapping into thier vast collection of visual experiences and knowlege of human visio-perception. When a camera (or unknowlegable artist for that matter) is faced with a spatially absurd viewpoint they will MINDLESSLY transfer the absurdity. This is just the tip of the iceburg.

MikeN
02-15-2009, 06:26 PM
Don't be ridiculous :mad: I'm not going to allow you to malign work done in a more-thorough way with colour - rather than the 'seat of the pants' way I believe was established to be your preference. They're different; doesn't make either less 'fine art' than the other.



Einion

I would like to respectfully add my thoughts on your comment Einion. Doug has merely stated a philosphical opinion. It is a valid conclusion and has been discussed in the aesthetics realm by some great thinkers (see Collingwood art vs craft). Are we not allowed to share our philosophies, however truthful and legitimate, because they inevitably exclude some works as art? Are your own notions of art all-inclusive?

I would also add that I am not sure Doug's comment is off-topic since one's notion of realism could be linked to human experience; as opposed to mechanical rendering. In other words, for some folks, real may mean something greater then mindless copying.

Mike

Einion
02-16-2009, 06:45 AM
I guess it's fine for anyone to mix & paint how he or she wants.
Of course.

Also don't see why one method is "better" then the other.
This isn't really about method, it can be but it's not inherent to realistic results; very different techniques (and palettes) can produce work of high realism - an 'old master' palette used in a layered way can go head-to-head with a modern palette used in a direct painting approach, to equal ends (given the right subjects).


There are paintings that look so much like photographs that you have to look at least twice to see that they really are no photographs. If that isn't 'realism', then what is?
Photographs are in many ways a paragon of realism, better in certain respects at capturing accurately a fleeting moment than nearly any painting.

Photographs do have a lot of colour problems, although critical comments about their colour - in the context of painting, compared to an original scene - do tend to share a few common problems:
they generally lump all photographs into a single basket, where there are any number of different kinds of colour shifts (generalised or localised) exhibited by photos on different film/sensors;
they tend to overlook that despite colour problems they are often better than nearly all painters are at doing the job :) And significantly faster of course.

I would like to respectfully add my thoughts on your comment Einion. Doug has merely stated a philosphical opinion. It is a valid conclusion and has been discussed in the aesthetics realm by some great thinkers (see Collingwood art vs craft). Are we not allowed to share our philosophies, however truthful and legitimate, because they inevitably exclude some works as art? Are your own notions of art all-inclusive?
I can't discuss another member's posts, but the thread is about realism and colour; it is not about thoughts of what is or is not worthy of being classed as fine art; as interesting as posts centred around that subject might be it would do nothing to further a discussion of the topic.

Philosophical outlook is very important in painting, but as I say above I would prefer if this thread stuck to firmer ground, to better focus on colour as an aspect of realism.

In other words, for some folks, real may mean something greater then mindless copying.
I don't think that there is a legitimate case for 'copying' in this context being mindless, because it has to require the full attention of the painter.

A similar issue would be tracing, often considered to be an act that can be done on autopilot. And it can be, but there is a big difference in results between mindless tracing and if done with finesse.

Einion

lenepveu
02-16-2009, 12:58 PM
And it can be, but there is a big difference in results between mindless tracing and if done with finesse.
This is true. There was a method touted in the 19th century that claimed to circumvent the arduous process of learning how to draw well. Essentially, it was tracing on glass, where the glass was held over the distant subject and painted on. The tracing on glass was retraced to the paper. Since the inventors were not really artists, at least in the notion of a trained professional, the tracing they made appeared naive. The legs were lathe-like, rounded where they should have been flat without anatomical landmarks. Features were glossed over or their complexity, ignored.

This, in many ways, demonstrates the point you made. We simply don't know we don't know...and this comes out when we draw, copy or trace. By extension, the act of mixing color is the same. How much one can tolerate being naive or relying on chance is up to the individual. Some art styles rely on this quality; other's don't.

MikeN
02-16-2009, 12:58 PM
Of course.



Photographs are in many ways a paragon of realism, better in certain respects at capturing accurately a fleeting moment than nearly any painting.

Photographs do have a lot of colour problems, although critical comments about their colour - in the context of painting, compared to an original scene - do tend to share a few common problems:
they generally lump all photographs into a single basket, where there are any number of different kinds of colour shifts (generalised or localised) exhibited by photos on different film/sensors;
they tend to overlook that despite colour problems they are often better than nearly all painters are at doing the job :) And significantly faster of course.

Einion

Your opinion is noted and I would certainly agree that photography has its advanteges at times. However, we should make a distinction. Although a camera may be quicker to capture a fleeting moment, it does not follow that it will be the best expression of that moment.

Since we are on the topic, and I feel the comparison between photography and painting can be useful in conveying my thoughts on realism.

Ironically, the camera's mechanical accuracy is its biggest problem when depicting reality. Like I have mentioned before, the most accurate representation of a singular vantage point is still only that. A sliver of something much more complex. A painter can infuse a two-dimensional scene with his/her knowlege of the THREE-DIMENSIONAL space. They have the ability to overcome spatial obsurdities which are abundantly present in nature. Not to mention, artists can enhance to better communicate subtlies such as physical lightness or heaviness, density, tact, closeness or farness.


A couple additional advantages: A photograph's surface lacks physcial structure, where as paint has an added dimension. Color use and surface structure are qualities that seperates a painter from a renderer. In some astonishing cases the paint's texture is almost literally transformed into the object being represented. Look at Wayne Theibaud's cakes for example; paint doesn't just render icing, it becomes icing. I know of no cameras that can do this. In addition, a photograph's surface fails to control opacity, translucency, transparency, not to mention other qualities of surface such physical sheen of the surface. All of these can be varied and used to express artistic intent by the painter. Mark Rothko is a wonderful example of this. Many of his paintings can only been appreciated in person. Instead of value and color contrast the rectilinear shapes are revealed through surface reflection. Seemingly they're monochromatic or even black paintings, but the variations in surface reflectivity produce deep and rich paintings. Effective in their subtleness.

my two cents

wal_t
02-16-2009, 01:19 PM
Take whatever scene and ask a good photographer to take a photo and ask a good painter to make a painting telling both that it has to be realistic. Now show the result to 100 people and ask them what would reflect reality more in their opinion .... the photo or the painting ..... I am curious what the outcome would be but I believe most - if not all - will opt for the first. Greetings Walter.

MikeN
02-16-2009, 03:32 PM
Take whatever scene and ask a good photographer to take a photo and ask a good painter to make a painting telling both that it has to be realistic. Now show the result to 100 people and ask them what would reflect reality more in their opinion .... the photo or the painting ..... I am curious what the outcome would be but I believe most - if not all - will opt for the first. Greetings Walter.


Hi Walt,

Possibly. I think the term itself is confusing. People may pick the the photo because that is associated with "real". If you asked 100 educated folks, in the arts you may have a totally different result.

Personally, I have yet to see a photo that can compete with a painting spatially, in person. I would like to see a side-by-side with an original rembrandt for example, next to a spatially successful photo. I know where I would put my money.

MikeN
02-16-2009, 04:18 PM
Of course.


I don't think that there is a legitimate case for 'copying' in this context being mindless, because it has to require the full attention of the painter.

A similar issue would be tracing, often considered to be an act that can be done on autopilot. And it can be, but there is a big difference in results between mindless tracing and if done with finesse.

Einion

Regardless of how much finesse you exhibit when tracing, it is only a technical feat. Without a unique contribution from the artist, whether conceptual or other, the sole act of tracing will never be recongnized as anything more then that.

This is not to say that technical virtuousos are not worthy of admiration. Maybe your a really good tracer. :) Similiarly, I am sure there are a few folks who can play Mozart as well if not better then Mozart did himself. However the important distiction is that they are not originating anything. So why should they be classified as artists? They are technicians who provide technical ability. I'm of the opinion that this is the same as tracing or act of rendering.

M

Einion
02-16-2009, 04:28 PM
Although I suppose it was inevitable that photography would come into it at some point it would be nice if we didn't get bogged down in the photographs v. original or photographs v. paintings side of things.

Your opinion is noted and I would certainly agree that photography has its advanteges at times. However, we should make a distinction. Although a camera may be quicker to capture a fleeting moment, it does not follow that it will be the best expression of that moment.
Didn't want to imply that a photo is the representation of something (although of course for a photographer it could well be obviously).
Photographs are in many ways a paragon of realism, better in certain respects at capturing accurately a fleeting moment than nearly any painting.

Ironically, the camera's mechanical accuracy is its biggest problem when depicting reality. Like I have mentioned before, the most accurate representation of a singular vantage point is still only that. A sliver of something much more complex. A painter can infuse a two-dimensional scene with his/her knowlege of the THREE-DIMENSIONAL space. They have the ability to overcome spatial obsurdities which are abundantly present in nature. Not to mention, artists can enhance to better communicate subtlies such as physical lightness or heaviness, density, tact, closeness or farness.
I know what you're getting at here but we shouldn't overlook what retouching can do, especially in the modern age. It doesn't necessarily make an art photograph more like paintings are in terms of colour (typically or in specific cases), but it can do a huge amount to improve on a basic captured image. Even if we only consider high-dynamic-range photographs, they're worlds beyond a simple photograph and go a long way towards compensating for two of the major issues painters have with photographic images - lack of detail in highlights and darks.

A couple additional advantages: A photograph's surface lacks physcial structure, where as paint has an added dimension.
This isn't a given; some ultra-realistic work is relatively lacking of 3D irregularities, even up close (airbrush work in particular). Other very realistic paintings are only tight - like they appear in reproductions - when viewed from a distance; up close, surprisingly painterly in one way or another.

Color use and surface structure are qualities that seperates a painter from a renderer. In some astonishing cases the paint's texture is almost literally transformed into the object being represented. Look at Wayne Theibaud's cakes for example; paint doesn't just render icing, it becomes icing. I know of no cameras that can do this.
While I'm now a fan of controlled texture in paintings we have to acknowledge that this is a qualitative judgment.

Photographers, and photo fans, could easily prefer the photographic image over Theibaud's representations of cakes. 3D digital modellers could prefer a photo-real (unsatisfying term, but no choice) rendered image to one of his paintings also.

In addition, a photograph's surface fails to control opacity, translucency, transparency, not to mention other qualities of surface such physical sheen of the surface. All of these can be varied and used to express artistic intent by the painter. Mark Rothko is a wonderful example of this. Many of his paintings can only been appreciated in person.
Erk, that's a hard sell to me!


Take whatever scene and ask a good photographer to take a photo and ask a good painter to make a painting telling both that it has to be realistic. Now show the result to 100 people and ask them what would reflect reality more in their opinion .... the photo or the painting ..... I am curious what the outcome would be but I believe most - if not all - will opt for the first.
In most cases I'd say that is likely.

Einion

marielizabeth
02-17-2009, 02:43 AM
Interesting topic, for sure!
At that point on my learning curve, I consider "realistic" a painting depicting three dimensions on a two dimensional support.
meaning: representing what light does to the thing I want to paint, using the effects of lights and shadows. This can be done in a very painterly / loose , or in a very tight style, but will still be realistic.
Just my opinion, for what it's worth!
Keep painting!
Shadia
Well said Shadia, I would add only this, that the subject would be something other people besides the artist can see and would consider "real". (As opposed to an artist who dropped acid and is painting his hallucinations, or an artist distorting perspective or color etc. for a "birds-eye-view" or how an object might appear to an ant or a dog)

What I was saying is true about colour and many a realist will put down Impressionism on a daily basis because it goes against the grain of a realist
What?? Realists owe a huge debt to the impressionist movement, who actually took art out of the "formula" painting style they rebelled against and instead painted what they could see not only as it pertained to color and perspective and atmosphere, but recording the truth of conditions and people of the times they lived in. Anyone who thinks the impressionists were not realist painters don't understand the Impressionists. (which brings us round to the reason they split from the National Galleries and became a group apart in the first place) I do believe that they became so intent on finding and proving color theories that drawing and some other technical skills took a back seat which caused a larger rift because the established art world and people did not understand what they were trying to do. That from Impressionism sprang cubism, modern art, abstract art, etc. cannot be denied, but by and large they were trying to be true to what they saw, their perception of reality. Whew!

Mike N, your question reminds me of a story. About twenty years ago, I decided that in order to be a better figure painter I needed to learn to paint landscapes to do better backgrounds, so I found a teacher in Salt Lake City who was teaching me. She painted with a "Bob Ross" -type wet in wet technique, which was okay with me, but my husband hated everything I painted in her classes. Not being an artist himself, all he kept saying to me is "they aren't real". The trees looked like trees, the water looked wet and like water. I loved the skies and the mist and atmosphere was a whole new perspective, so I didn't understand him at all. Finally, I nailed him down and made him talk about what was wrong with those paintings. Now, he is an avid sportsman and out doors man and what he meant was that she placed trees in mountain scenes which were obviously above the timber line where they could not live. She placed Rocks in areas where they were out of place. What he was trying to tell me was that although she knew how to paint a tree, a lake, a mountain, etc. etc, she had not studied nature enough to place the right things together. Therefore, her paintings drove him crazy. So began my plein air paint forays, so, although she taught me paint handling techniques and gave me a place to start, I learned that if you want to paint realistically, you really need to learn something about what your are painting or they will look phony to people who do know about the subject you are painting.
And that all I have to say abot that:evil:
'becca

tigerpaw
02-17-2009, 04:58 AM
Like looking at a high quality Photograph
, only with your enhanced values and judgements, hope that made sense? maybe not.

MikeN
02-17-2009, 06:41 AM
Mike N, your question reminds me of a story. About twenty years ago, I decided that in order to be a better figure painter I needed to learn to paint landscapes to do better backgrounds, so I found a teacher in Salt Lake City who was teaching me. She painted with a "Bob Ross" -type wet in wet technique, which was okay with me, but my husband hated everything I painted in her classes. Not being an artist himself, all he kept saying to me is "they aren't real". The trees looked like trees, the water looked wet and like water. I loved the skies and the mist and atmosphere was a whole new perspective, so I didn't understand him at all. Finally, I nailed him down and made him talk about what was wrong with those paintings. Now, he is an avid sportsman and out doors man and what he meant was that she placed trees in mountain scenes which were obviously above the timber line where they could not live. She placed Rocks in areas where they were out of place. What he was trying to tell me was that although she knew how to paint a tree, a lake, a mountain, etc. etc, she had not studied nature enough to place the right things together. Therefore, her paintings drove him crazy. So began my plein air paint forays, so, although she taught me paint handling techniques and gave me a place to start, I learned that if you want to paint realistically, you really need to learn something about what your are painting or they will look phony to people who do know about the subject you are painting.
And that all I have to say abot that:evil:
'becca

Becca,

That is a wonderful point, thanks for sharing it :)

lenepveu
02-17-2009, 09:12 AM
who actually took art out of the "formula" painting style they rebelled against and instead painted what they could see not only as it pertained to color and perspective and atmosphere, but recording the truth of conditions and people of the times they lived in. Anyone who thinks the impressionists were not realist painters don't understand the Impressionists. (which brings us round to the reason they split from the National Galleries and became a group apart in the first place) I do believe that they became so intent on finding and proving color theories that drawing and some other technical skills took a back seat which caused a larger rift because the established art world and people did not understand what they were trying to do. That from Impressionism sprang cubism, modern art, abstract art, etc. cannot be denied, but by and large they were trying to be true to what they saw, their perception of reality. Whew!

You might need to check out the details on the impressionist movement. Contrary to what you wrote, its was extremely complex with dozens and dozens of artists worldwide with disparate views. Some were symbolists, for example. Others were, what you might consider, formulaic. Also, what do you mean by National Galleries?

marielizabeth
02-17-2009, 02:24 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impressionism

rltromble
02-20-2009, 06:46 PM
This is how I classify some art forms,
Primitive- Symbolic art, simplistic but with some attempt at proportion.
Realism- Mimicry of reality,
Impressionism-Attempt to capture mood or an idea of a supject
Photo Realism- Attempt to capture exactly the way things are.
Surrealism-Realist subjects in impossable situations.

James or Jimmy Jim
02-20-2009, 07:46 PM
Realism- Mimicry of reality

Not necessarily true. I prefer the word interpretation.

sidbledsoe
02-20-2009, 08:09 PM
Humans must classify everything, that really simplifies pigeon holing things prior to the inevitable "evaluation" of the things that will surely follow. Then the problem of catagorizing when something doesn't fit, solution: make up a new category that can be properly criticized!
This is a big argument I have had with my brother about music for many years now, thus my sensitivity. (never mind me, now talk amongst yourselves)
:rolleyes:

James or Jimmy Jim
02-20-2009, 08:13 PM
Humans must classify everything, that really simplifies pigeon holing things prior to the inevitable "evaluation" of the things that will surely follow. Then the problem of catagorizing when something doesn't fit, solution: make up a new category that can be properly criticized!
This is a big argument I have had with my brother about music for many years now, thus my sensitivity. (never mind me, now talk amongst yourselves)
:rolleyes:

Humans? This isn't real, just virtual ... isn't it? :eek: :D

sidbledsoe
02-20-2009, 08:33 PM
You are right, cybereality it is.

stoney
02-20-2009, 11:09 PM
Humans must classify everything, that really simplifies pigeon holing things prior to the inevitable "evaluation" of the things that will surely follow. Then the problem of catagorizing when something doesn't fit, solution: make up a new category that can be properly criticized!


Or dismissed.

Use Her Name
02-21-2009, 01:14 AM
I feel I paint realistically, my paintings look like something that exists in the world--- however, when I use color, I use it for various reasons. It is not enough to get accurate Local color. Color is also used for perspective, (the illusion of depth) as well as for drama, feeling (mood), as you say tempreture, and other psychological reasons not just the illusion of something realistic. I started by wanting to be one of these photo-realistically accurate painters, but as it ends up I do not have the right temprement for it, so I try to match my personality to my style-- alos, of course, my expectations of what the finished work should look like. The more I paint, the better I get at this. I classify my art as somewhere between realism and impressionism, but not abstract enough to be considered abstract, or coseptual. Like you , I don't quite know what that means. I tend to classify things more by what they are not than what they are, because everyone's work is different and sometimes just pidgeon-holing things is not a very accurate way to describe things.

oldrockchick
02-22-2009, 01:13 PM
I am not as well educated in art or art history as you guys but as that other member said...

I'm not an expert in realism, but I know it when I run into it. ;)



But to me realism is when something looks like what it is meant to look like (poor grammar I know but not easy to define)

egs

A constable landscape or a Stubbs horse painting to me is realsitic whereas a Picasso cubist portrait is not.

But thats just my limited perception.

Davidem
02-22-2009, 07:28 PM
In regards to a recent thread here in CT&M:

I noticed the term "Realism" used frequently when attached to an accurate style of painting. I find the word as ambiguous as descriptions like "temperature" or even "tone".

I thought I would bring the topic up for discussion. For starters I am curious about WC member's thoughts and definitions of the term. I ask what, for you, is realism? Specifically, how is color used "realisticly" in a painting or work of art? Is it merely transferring colors that are seen to a canvas with the upmost precision? Is it something more sophisticated? Possibly, suplementing what is seen with knowlege of a more truthful view? Do you feel that using color "realistically" is a mechanical act, or is it an informed expression?

I look forward to your thoughts.

Mike

Hello Mike,

I was browsing the forum list and saw this thread, it is quite long but your question is quite interesting. Could you kind of give me an idea of where you stand on the answers to date, I wouldn't want to repeat any ideas you have already heard.

Thanks,

David

MikeN
02-23-2009, 04:15 AM
Hello Mike,

I was browsing the forum list and saw this thread, it is quite long but your question is quite interesting. Could you kind of give me an idea of where you stand on the answers to date, I wouldn't want to repeat any ideas you have already heard.

Thanks,

David

Hello David,

The thread is only a chance to share our own definitions of the term, at the same time discussing the over-all concept. I was hoping it would increase awareness of the mulitple uses of the term, rather then coming to some kind of group consensus on the meaning of the word.

At the same time, I had an ulterior motive. I hoped to question the notion that accurate copying is the "most real" form of image making. While I could never deny that copying helps tremendously, and is ultimately at the root of all representational work, I would argue that a skilled artist, using experience and intellect, can enhance, or COMMUNICATE the reality of a scene more effectively then nature itself.

For example, when the top of a box, in two-point perspective, is seen at eye level, both planes are experienced as a single straight line (first image). We could accurately copy what we see, although it is spatially uninformative in many regards. We could also change what we see, (second image) using knowlege we have acquired through experience, to communicate a more spatially informative view for the audience. The viewer better understands the volume of the box when eye level has been raised (box lowered), creating an angular line where the two top planes meet. So which is more real? the first image or the second? IMO, both could be depending on how you define the term.

Davidem
02-23-2009, 04:45 AM
I'll have to give it a little more thought before I can answer completely I guess realism is using color and value to make our two dimensional work appear to be present in three dimensions. If that wasn't the case we could just take photos. Color alone can't do it because sadly we are not all wearing the same color receptors.

The key is representing the light on the object, while the "realistic color" is a nice goal, fairly difficult to achieve since we don't always see the same color when we look at things. We do however see the same values and form, and indeed slightly changing the perspective can provide a great guide in helping us understand the objects we are trying to communicate to the viewer.

As I said I have to give this more thought and I will read the rest of this thread.

David

MikeN
02-23-2009, 05:18 AM
I'll have to give it a little more thought before I can answer completely I guess realism is using color and value to make our two dimensional work appear to be present in three dimensions. If that wasn't the case we could just take photos. Color alone can't do it because sadly we are not all wearing the same color receptors.

The key is representing the light on the object, while the "realistic color" is a nice goal, fairly difficult to achieve since we don't always see the same color when we look at things. We do however see the same values and form, and indeed slightly changing the perspective can provide a great guide in helping us understand the objects we are trying to communicate to the viewer.

As I said I have to give this more thought and I will read the rest of this thread.

David

Hi David,

Thanks for the reply.

I agree that we don't all see exactly the same. However, I think it is reasonalbe to assume the majority of the population sees similiar enough to make some basic assumptions. For example, things that contrast what is percieved as the background, will advance in our visual fields. Example: orange on a blue background will come forward. Similiarly, blue on an orange background will come forward. Utilizing information such as this, helps us as visual communicators to express spatial relationships.

However, there is an element of subjectivity built into this since spatial relationships are only one aspect of reality. Other elements such as texture may be the more dominant, identifying characteristics of an object or scene. Note my earlier example of Wayne Theibaud's paint slathered cakes.

'It is only fools who could say my works are abstract; what they are categorizing as abstract is in fact the most realistic thing possible, for reality is not the outer form but the idea, the essence of things'. - Brancusi

I would also like to add that while it is helpful to understand how the majority uses a term, the term is by no means limited to that particular use. IMO.

M

stoney
02-23-2009, 04:51 PM
Hello David,

The thread is only a chance to share our own definitions of the term, at the same time discussing the over-all concept. I was hoping it would increase awareness of the mulitple uses of the term, rather then coming to some kind of group consensus on the meaning of the word.

At the same time, I had an ulterior motive. I hoped to question the notion that accurate copying is the "most real" form of image making. While I could never deny that copying helps tremendously, and is ultimately at the root of all representational work, I would argue that a skilled artist, using experience and intellect, can enhance, or COMMUNICATE the reality of a scene more effectively then nature itself.

Philosophy imo.

Does what you painted tell the story you were seeking to tell?

MikeN
02-23-2009, 05:58 PM
Philosophy imo.

Maybe. I don't blame folks for thinking.

stoney
02-24-2009, 01:44 AM
Maybe. I don't blame folks for thinking.

Nor do I.

Einion
02-25-2009, 02:48 AM
The thread is only a chance to share our own definitions of the term, at the same time discussing the over-all concept. I was hoping it would increase awareness of the mulitple uses of the term, rather then coming to some kind of group consensus on the meaning of the word.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Aug-2003/3842-thumbsup.gif

At the same time, I had an ulterior motive. I hoped to question the notion that accurate copying is the "most real" form of image making. While I could never deny that copying helps tremendously, and is ultimately at the root of all representational work, I would argue that a skilled artist, using experience and intellect, can enhance, or COMMUNICATE the reality of a scene more effectively then nature itself.

For example, when the top of a box, in two-point perspective, is seen at eye level, both planes are experienced as a single straight line (first image). We could accurately copy what we see, although it is spatially uninformative in many regards. We could also change what we see, (second image) using knowlege we have acquired through experience, to communicate a more spatially informative view for the audience. The viewer better understands the volume of the box when eye level has been raised (box lowered), creating an angular line where the two top planes meet. So which is more real? the first image or the second? IMO, both could be depending on how you define the term.
Some great observations there. I wouldn't agree with the notion that representational art can communicate the reality of a scene better than the scene itself can, since a frozen moment can only do so much, no matter how much subtext* is added to the imagery. Although there are clearly paintings that convey more than prosaic appearance.

*With attendant possibility of misinterpretation on behalf of the viewer.

...

Back to colour's role in realistic representation, do you have any images or links to artists' work that you think do this best?

Einion

MikeN
02-25-2009, 06:14 AM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Aug-2003/3842-thumbsup.gif


Some great observations there. I wouldn't agree with the notion that representational art can communicate the reality of a scene better than the scene itself can, since a frozen moment can only do so much, no matter how much subtext* is added to the imagery. Although there are clearly paintings that convey more than prosaic appearance.

*With attendant possibility of misinterpretation on behalf of the viewer.

...

Back to colour's role in realistic representation, do you have any images or links to artists' work that you think do this best?

Einion


Successful representation art may be anything but a “frozen moment”. Even the most “realistic” still-life can be a subtle compilation of moments, experiences, and viewpoints.

A simplistic color example: While looking at a scattering of red barns over a hillside, an artist recognizes that the bans closest to him are more visually saturated with red. In contrast, the spec of a barn in the distance looks to be a light, dull magenta. The artist remembers this observation when painting a vase of rose buds the next day. In his painting, he punches up the intensity of the buds closest to him, while lowering the saturation and contrast of those in the back of the arrangement. Similar to the barns, the buds begin to advance and recede in his visual field. Although the painted image looks different then the still life, the space between flowers has been better communicated.



M

gunzorro
02-25-2009, 10:56 AM
Mike -- I don't think using techniques such as exaggerating or reducing chroma necessarily aids in the realism of a painting, even though it undeniably emphasizes and draws the attention of the viewer. It sounds on the surface like an illustration technique used in advertising -- which isn't bad.

The description sounds like aerial perspective and using it for close-up still life. I agree with artistic license, and as long as it looks "real" I suppose it works -- there is plenty of room for interpretation.

dcorc
02-25-2009, 12:38 PM
The description sounds like aerial perspective and using it for close-up still life.

This approach can be seen in Rembrandt's "Anatomy Lesson of Dr Tulp"

MikeN
02-25-2009, 12:45 PM
Thanks for the feedback.

It is atmospheric perspective. But to clarify, if we see a vase of flowers which do not "appear" from one vantage point, to be as spatially deep as we "know" them to be from others, then exhagerating may be able to reveal a more true nature of the object.

another disclaimer: I am by no means saying that realism is the end all of art. I would argue the opposite. I simply believe that real can be more then the information provided from a single vantage point, regardless of how accurately that data is transferred to a 2 dimensional surface.

Davidem
02-25-2009, 12:55 PM
Hi David,

Thanks for the reply.

I agree that we don't all see exactly the same. However, I think it is reasonalbe to assume the majority of the population sees similiar enough to make some basic assumptions. For example, things that contrast what is percieved as the background, will advance in our visual fields. Example: orange on a blue background will come forward. Similiarly, blue on an orange background will come forward. Utilizing information such as this, helps us as visual communicators to express spatial relationships.

However, there is an element of subjectivity built into this since spatial relationships are only one aspect of reality. Other elements such as texture may be the more dominant, identifying characteristics of an object or scene. Note my earlier example of Wayne Theibaud's paint slathered cakes.

'It is only fools who could say my works are abstract; what they are categorizing as abstract is in fact the most realistic thing possible, for reality is not the outer form but the idea, the essence of things'. - Brancusi

I would also like to add that while it is helpful to understand how the majority uses a term, the term is by no means limited to that particular use. IMO.

M

Mike,

Thanks for letting me join in your discussion here. I sense however that the discussion is on the technical aspects of color matching and not the philosophy of representational painting and it's relationship to "realism".

I'll keep my eyes open and see if the subject comes up in the Creativity or Art History forums.

Thanks again,

David

Einion
02-25-2009, 01:53 PM
Successful representation art may be anything but a “frozen moment”. Even the most “realistic” still-life can be a subtle compilation of moments, experiences, and viewpoints.
I meant frozen as in a static image.

A simplistic color example: While looking at a scattering of red barns over a hillside, an artist recognizes that the bans closest to him are more visually saturated with red. In contrast, the spec of a barn in the distance looks to be a light, dull magenta. The artist remembers this observation when painting a vase of rose buds the next day. In his painting, he punches up the intensity of the buds closest to him, while lowering the saturation and contrast of those in the back of the arrangement. Similar to the barns, the buds begin to advance and recede in his visual field. Although the painted image looks different then the still life, the space between flowers has been better communicated.
Utilising atmospheric colour changes for close-up work might tend to look a little odd, even stilted, given how they would be quite different to what would be seen at this sort of range. Obviously one can choose to paint things any way the muse dictates, but I think deliberate colour effects like this expressly move away from absolute realism.

To go back to this briefly:

I agree that we don't all see exactly the same. However, I think it is reasonalbe to assume the majority of the population sees similiar enough to make some basic assumptions.
I think this is a safe assumption! It's obviously true, otherwise there wouldn't be certain colour illusions that nearly everyone falls victim to. As well as that, if people did not see similarly enough I think it would be fair to say that TV screens and computer monitors might not 'work', as but one example. Based on this we can (and they do) make broad generalisations about the way humans see but despite this truism it's interesting that not infrequently when discussions about colour or vision come up among artists someone will bring up "but we all don't see the same way".


Mike -- I don't think using techniques such as exaggerating or reducing chroma necessarily aids in the realism of a painting, even though it undeniably emphasizes and draws the attention of the viewer.
Agreed. It's not by any means something used only in illustration but I don't think there's any debate that it's not inherently less realistic than an as-close-as-possible approach WRT colour.


I'll have to give it a little more thought before I can answer completely I guess realism is using color and value to make our two dimensional work appear to be present in three dimensions. If that wasn't the case we could just take photos. Color alone can't do it because sadly we are not all wearing the same color receptors.
Colour includes value; it's not a separate entity. So colour 'alone' does indeed work the way we need it to ;)

Thanks for letting me join in your discussion here. I sense however that the discussion is on the technical aspects of color matching and not the philosophy of representational painting and it's relationship to "realism".
You sense? This is the Colour theory forum, the title of the thread is Color and Realism. I did also emphasise more than once what I would like the thread to focus on - a brief review of the thread prior to posting would have been beneficial.

Einion

Davidem
02-25-2009, 03:53 PM
Mike,

Thanks for letting me join in your discussion here. I sense however that the discussion is on the technical aspects of color matching and not the philosophy of representational painting and it's relationship to "realism".

I'll keep my eyes open and see if the subject comes up in the Creativity or Art History forums.

Thanks again,

David


Mike,

I guess in my earlier post was a little unclear and would like to recast my post to you.

Mike, I see after reviewing the thread that the discussion is on the technical aspects of color matching and not the philosophy of representational painting and it's relationship to "realism" and that expansion into this broader discussion might not be appropriate here. So Mike let me apologize and I'll keep my eyes open and see if the subject comes up in the Creativity or Art History forums.

Regards David

gunzorro
02-25-2009, 04:55 PM
David -- I don't see that color matching played a significant part in the way the thread began. Talk about color receptors and ways if seeing color seemed to pull the thread off a bit. As Einion said, this is the Color Theory (and Mixing) forum, not Painting Philosophy.

To get back toward the point: Mike, I agree that there are ways to interpret a subject (not completely adhering to the exact way things are) to show different aspects within one painting, that couldn't be seen or understood from a single vantage point. But as you showed in your perspective drawing, proper choice of vantange point is the first and most important step, whether that applies to realistic painting, and especially photography (without Photoshop!).

To the idea: "can enhance, or COMMUNICATE the reality of a scene more effectively then nature itself." I would say no, the actual scene is pretty well the final word on its "reality". The artist is doing an interpretation, and can never capture as much information as the original subject holds. But, as I said above, by altering, or as you said "enhancing", the artist can provide an understanding suited to his needs, which the scene might stubbornly refuse to accomodate. ;) This is most common in composition, changing or adding elements that make the final painting more pleasing.

wal_t
02-25-2009, 06:23 PM
We also have the notion of "less is more" so hiding certain details may be used to enhance the communication about reality. This is what is done in all paintings to a greater or lesser extend as they are all approximations of reality (assuming it was attempted to paint realistically and not just abstract). Guess this holds true for color but also for all other design elements like value, shape, etc. regards, Walter

MikeN
02-26-2009, 09:48 AM
To the idea: "can enhance, or COMMUNICATE the reality of a scene more effectively then nature itself." I would say no, the actual scene is pretty well the final word on its "reality". The artist is doing an interpretation, and can never capture as much information as the original subject holds. But, as I said above, by altering, or as you said "enhancing", the artist can provide an understanding suited to his needs, which the scene might stubbornly refuse to accomodate. ;) This is most common in composition, changing or adding elements that make the final painting more pleasing.

Thanks for the comment.

Communiating is hard work for me lol. What I intended to mean was "can enchance or communicate the reality of a scene more effectively then nature itsel, from a singular view." I agree that nature has the final word on its reality. The question is this: since we can't possibly all the information that is held, which information communicates it most?

Great comment btw.

Thought i would mix it up even more by posting a William Bailey painting. Does it acheive a certain level of realism? It's likely it was painted from memory and imagination. Some might call his work realistic; he would not.

gunzorro
02-26-2009, 10:19 AM
Mike -- Thanks for your comments and clarification. I agree -- there is no way to completely duplicate complex subjects, so the inability turns into an artistic preference. ;) What we choose to include and how skillfully we carry it out is the artistic side. Certainly that choosing is one of the main things to separate painting from photography.

BTW -- I would say the painting you showed here (very nice) is definitely representational or realistic, despite the claims of the painter. ;) That is clearly a salt shaker -- although many of the shadows lack realism!