Excellence in Realism

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Excellence in Realism


Published on before 2005

Hello Mark,

You are correct about the importance of feeling and connectedness with the subject that you are painting that goes beyond correctness, sight size, measurements, etc. When you are enthusiastic about painting the subject and you are left undisturbed, and you can really "tune into" what you are doing and let go of all other thoughts, there is almost a "zen" experience that seems to "flatten" time and you find that what seemed like an hour with the subject was actually three.

I've experienced it only a few times and am not familiar with meditation, but was taught that there is a palpable energy or connection that runs from your mind down through your fingers to your brushes when you are "in tune". It allows you to paint with "feeling", flowing lines, "expression," or whatever other term you wish to apply but it is the difference between painting like Michelangelo and painting like Ingres. (And this is from a hard headed, practical painter who is not given to "touchy feely" theories.) "Paint like an Italian, not a Norwegian", he would say. (We are mostly of Scandinavian and German descent here, ha, ha.)

This cannot be taught but experienced and if it results in some slight exaggeration in anatomy, perspective, etc., as many Renaissance drawings and paintings have, that's ok. This is the "dither" that [Harold] Speed talks about that gives life and I'm not sure that it is easily gained with sight size and other methods. Perhaps this is why some find objection to some atelier work.