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Old 07-18-2019, 06:45 AM
TomMather TomMather is offline
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Re: Realism, non-realism, and all that

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Originally Posted by musket
I don't consider Vermeer to have been even close to contemporary photo-realistic painters. Despite the high level of detail, his paintings look like what they are--paintings. He also manipulated reality quite a bit. For example, there are architectural anomalies in The Little Street that simply are not in accord with reality.

I would never confuse a Vermeer painting with photo-realism. What I intended to convey was that I was surprised by the high level of detail in this painting, particularly considering its small size. Also, the strong value range is reminiscent of certain photographs— such as the images of Ansel Adams.
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Old 07-18-2019, 03:35 PM
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lorianikins lorianikins is offline
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Re: Realism, non-realism, and all that

I enjoy the challenge of film photography as much as painting, so I do not understand the appeal of photo-realistic paintings. What's the point of it? Why wouldn't I just take a great photo of the subject, with good composition, lighting, contrast, etc., and then proudly call that photograph my "art"? What's the point of painting it when I could photograph it instead?

To me, the point of painting is to go beyond the limitations of what can be achieved in a photograph.

For example, here's a painting by David Stickel which recently won a Georgia Watercolor Society award. I could get excited about this image if it was a photograph, but as a painting ... I just don't get it. (I mean no insult to the artist; this is a skillful painting and the award is well-deserved.)
http://georgiawatercolorsociety.com/...sicAvignon.JPG


Last edited by lorianikins : 07-18-2019 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 07-18-2019, 05:12 PM
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Pinguino Pinguino is offline
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Re: Realism, non-realism, and all that

Once upon a time (at least in Europe) before the Impressionists, art academies would often train students by having them copy earlier master paintings. This is still done today in some places, and here at WC there is a forum for such copied art.

Nowadays, contemporary art students (usually) don't copy by sitting in the museum in front of the original master work. They don't (usually) even sit in front of a painted copy of the original. Instead, they work from a photo of the original.

So, if I paint a copy of David's Napoleon crossing the Alps by using a photo of that work, and my painting is hard to distinguish from the original, is that photorealism? Or would I have to paint while in the museum, looking at the original? Keep in mind that the original is imaginary. How about something such as Sargent's painting of Theodore Roosevelt, which was done from the live subject in-situ? How about any work by Van Gogh? How about abstract expressionism?

Understand that I am not talking about whether the original is photorealistic. I am talking about whether my copy is a photorealistic rendition of the original, however painterly or abstract the original may be.

How about if I work for $10 per day in China, making numerous painted copies of the same original, doing it well enough that ordinary folks can't tell the difference?

My point is that there is a difference between technical excellence, and other things that constitute art. I doubt if anyone would say that Van Gogh was ever technically excellent. Picasso might have been (he was trained in that direction) but abandoned it early in life, so we don't know whether or not he could have cranked out technically excellent works late in life.

As for the above watercolor of a column: It is certainly technically excellent. But I believe that a good photo could be run through software that would automatically make it look like a watercolor.

Last edited by Pinguino : 07-18-2019 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 07-18-2019, 05:51 PM
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Re: Realism, non-realism, and all that

Forgive me members who have read this a thousand times from yours truly.


If an artist takes a fabulous photo: great....that is a work of art, we can all admit that photography is ART.
Now the artist can do anything he/she wants with that photo, whether hyper-real or painterly....whatever. The result is TWO works of art.


Example: lets say that Ansel Adams took one of his paintings and decided to "work" from it in any style with paint.....and lets say the result of his painting was very realistic would you fault him? Or would you want him to flick the little edges and go painterly?


I get tired of the "painterly police". Realists always have to defend their style.....the painterly? not so much.
Its all good my friends.
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Old 07-19-2019, 09:00 AM
Artyczar Artyczar is offline
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Re: Realism, non-realism, and all that

I don't think I've read that a thousand times from you, or even once, but I highly agree. I for one often work from photographs, but who would ever know that? The truth is, I don't think I'm all that wonderful of a photographer, so I rarely print out my photos, or even show them. Sometimes I'm working from more than one--it's sometimes two or three and I sort of meld them together, or use different elements from one and something from another, then perhaps use something else entirely (that's not a photo of mine) as a reference. These are landscape pieces I'm talking about, but many are abstracts too. They are actually based on landscapes, not that anyone would ever see that. Those too are based on my photographs. I've been taking pictures since I was 15 when my brother got me a Nikon FG for my birthday. You'd think I'd be pretty good by now, but I can probably get one good picture once or twice a year!

But yes, if Ansel Adams decided to paint from his photographs and they came out completely "painterly," is that "photorealism?" That's a funny idea, isn't it?

Also, I was going to say, photorealists always get held up to their references, and that is always an issue, I've found. People (some viewers, but mostly other artists) want to start comparing their work to their reference, and that's not fair. The artwork should be what it is on its own. It actually doesn't matter how it came to be. That was kind of my point when I started this post. Ha.

Last edited by Artyczar : 07-19-2019 at 09:03 AM.
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Old 07-19-2019, 09:11 AM
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stlukesguild stlukesguild is offline
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Re: Realism, non-realism, and all that

I get tired of the "painterly police". Realists always have to defend their style.....the painterly? not so much.
Its all good my friends.


Derek, I agree. While I personally prefer painting that involves more invention and more of the artist's touch ("expressive brushwork") I disagree with the bias against "realism".

I find myself laughing at the assumption that "expressive" or "painterly" paintings reach a greater audience and are more likely to sell. The examples to prove this theory are usually chosen from the highest or the high-end art market... the artists who sell almost exclusively to the super-wealthy. Of course, the reality is that almost certainly none of those arguing this point will ever find themselves working for this market. The median price of a work of contemporary art is just a bit over $1300. I suspect that craftsmanship and technical skill... including a mastery of "realism"... remain highly sought after within the mid-range art market.
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Old 07-19-2019, 09:18 AM
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Re: Realism, non-realism, and all that

Great post Arty.
David, I always enjoy seeing your posts of amazing contemporary realists and usually follow up on them for inspiration.
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:24 AM
Artyczar Artyczar is offline
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Re: Realism, non-realism, and all that

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Originally Posted by stlukesguild
I find myself laughing at the assumption that "expressive" or "painterly" paintings reach a greater audience and are more likely to sell. The examples to prove this theory are usually chosen from the highest or the high-end art market... the artists who sell almost exclusively to the super-wealthy. Of course, the reality is that almost certainly none of those arguing this point will ever find themselves working for this market. The median price of a work of contemporary art is just a bit over $1300. I suspect that craftsmanship and technical skill... including a mastery of "realism"... remain highly sought after within the mid-range art market.

I agree. I think realism sells way better, overall across the board, than stylized, or painterly/loose brush work. I've personally seen it both in being an artist in a roster of a couple different galleries of varying styles, and when I worked in different galleries that were dealing in both contemporary work and sold throughout the country.

The first gallery I was in had two locations, NY first, then LA. I only showed in the LA space because the NY space was better at selling the realism stuff, despite the fact they had a lot of contemporary work too. Still lifes and cityscapes were their best sellers, both very realistic, not "painterly" at all, and they especially did well with still lifes.

The gallery I'm in now has 60 artists (15 or so are big names/secondary market stuff), a lot like my first gallery. He sells a lot of photography, though there are not many photographers in the roster, and lots of realism, and there are not many of those artists either. They are his best sellers though.

The galleries I worked with when I was younger, one in LA, one in St. Petersberg, Florida, dealt in a lot of prints and made much more money than the contemporary galleries I've shown in, even though they weren't "hip" or whatever. Maybe because their overhead was less as well? They didn't have to keep up an expensive rent like the high-end contemporary galleries do.

The biggest sellers there were artists like Bev Doolittle and Wyland. Other work that sold big were Western landscapes/Native American scenes and Indian portraits, cowboys with lots of horses, and other wildlife. That camouflage wildlife thing that Bev Doolittle does was really big at the time. It didn't matter if the artist was lesser known, it depended on the artwork itself, not so much the name, unless they were originals.
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:33 AM
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Re: Realism, non-realism, and all that

It didn't matter if the artist was lesser-known, it depended on the artwork itself, not so much the name...

Isn't this as it should be? The work is what is important, not the name brand? That is one thing I liked about medieval, ancient... and a lot of non-Western art. In most instances the artists are unknown and so what is sought is the actual quality of the work as a work of art.
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Old 07-19-2019, 11:55 AM
Artyczar Artyczar is offline
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Re: Realism, non-realism, and all that

Quote:
Originally Posted by stlukesguild
It didn't matter if the artist was lesser-known, it depended on the artwork itself, not so much the name...

Isn't this as it should be? The work is what is important, not the name brand? That is one thing I liked about medieval, ancient... and a lot of non-Western art. In most instances the artists are unknown and so what is sought is the actual quality of the work as a work of art.

I think that is how it is in the non-contemporary art world, truthfully.
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