Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Faded Photo of the House on Norris Road

House on Norris Road. Computer Adjusted Photo
Colors were enhanced, contrast increased, and some
window details were created by copying parts of them
where details were absent.

The Country Doctor's Home. Watercolor.
The image was enlarged and painted from the adjusted
photo. Areas of watercolor were loosely splashed onto
the surface, before refining the desired details. Some areas
were left vague to encourage the viewer's eye to move
around within the picture plane.

Composition in Realism

Realism is sometimes thought to be only copying nature by abstract artists or artists working from imagination. But anyone who had worked in darkroom photography knows there is often an elaborate manipulation of light, dark, contrast, texture, emphasis, placement of elements through cropping, dodging and burning, and by employing other means before a photograph is finished. The result is far from the first impression of nature.

The artist who paints consciously to create a skillful composition has controlled the combination of elements within the picture plane, until it is no longer simply a “copy” of nature.Successful realistic painters do this as well, even those using photographs as a means of beginning.

Realistic artists also bring together disparate elements to create one painting, although the final version may appear to be completely realistic in presentation.

The above painting used both indirect impressionistic methods and selected areas of directly painted realistic detail to blend both into a completed composition.

Recommended Books: For two dimensional artists seeking fresh approaches for presenting realistic subjects, I recommend:

Creative Landscape Painting by Edward Betts. (Watson Guptill 1978) and
Concept and Composition by Fritz Henning, (North Light Publishers 1983)

Many of these approaches can be applied to still life, figurative work, and other subjects as well as landscape painting.

Images and Writing are the exclusive Copyright of Ruth Zachary.

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