I am a Realist Painter

This is something I’ve been trying to avoid but it is clear as I continue painting that my style is Realism. I want people to imagine that they are looking at reality when they view my paintings; I call this the Reality Illusion. I’m looking at the paintings of Peder Mørk Mønsted and his work is similar to the way I paint, although he was definitely the better artist. Initially I wanted to paint in more of an impressionist style and tried to, but I always revert to a more realistic style although I’m still trying to make my style more impressionistic. I’m presently working on the brick wall of a building and I have to stop myself from adding in ridiculous amounts of detail. I try to make the painting appear real hence the reality illusion but I would also like the painting to have a more impressionistic appearance. I greatly admire artists who paint with an impressionistic style yet still impart an illusion of reality to the scene.



I was reading a Blog about brushes a few days ago and one of the headlines was ‘Don’t stop at one’. I laughed a little and looked over at my collection. The photo in the article that I was reading showed a collection of very used almost decrepit brushes; looking at my collection I realised that most of them are in better shape. At first, I was a little proud of this but after some thought I realised that some of my brushes are 40 years old and maybe more. So perhaps I’m just not using them as much as I should, but it doesn’t seem to stop me from buying more.

I’ve talked about my brushes before. I doubt that I have as many as some artists. In my own defense I learned to paint when I was young and became a graphic artist when I was older and had children. So, I have brushes from when I was young and I’ve been collecting them slowly ever since. I have to agree with the advice of not stopping at one. Sometimes I will search through my whole collection searching for the one perfect brush. I consider this a good reason to head to the store to find another of those ‘perfect’ brushes.

Just Enough Detail

I’m painting a brick wall; the back wall of an old building in New York, and I want to know just how much detail to show. I know how a brick wall is built and I know why it’s built in the way that it is. I don’t think I have to show extensive detail about the way it’s built but I need to show the detail that some people expect. I’d like it to be detailed enough that a bricklayer will accept the imperfections that I know must be there, so It needs to be representational, not photographic.


This is the only YouTube video I could find that shows why some of the bricks appear smaller than others, it’s stronger to lay some of the bricks at 90° to the others thus keeping sections together. This is an old video from the 40s or 50s, I suspect that this method is no longer used much and now metal banding is used. The building, or rather the rear wall, is an old building in New York so the techniques are relevant.

OK so a bricklayer looked at it and her only comment was “messy job”. She was talking about the brick laying job not the painting. At least that is my story.

So, the bricks aren’t perfect but they look a little like bricks and should enhance the reality illusion.

A Little Rant

The new Website is up and running although there will be small changes I’m sure. I was Using Adobe Muse and I liked the application, unfortunately, Adobe Decided that the application did not have a future and stopped supporting it. I have gone back to my old standby Dreamweaver but it has taken me a few weeks to relearn it. I’m really annoyed with Adobe because I started using Muse and liked it. Now I’m back to Dreamweaver. I like Dreamweaver and Adobe has improved it immensely and it is the better, more powerful application. I’m just annoyed that I spent time learning a new application and liked it.

Nature Is A Little Grey

I like bright colours but I notice when I’m looking at a landscape that the colours are a little on the grey side. When I was working as a wedding photographer I noticed that I always turned up the colour saturation when I was adjusting the pictures; actually, I had to be careful about that because there is a fine line between a great photo and an oversaturated one. It’s not quit so important with painting but I still like bright colours and the grey tone I perceive in nature is important for the reality illusion. For a painting to elicit the Reality Illusion the colours and shades need to be a little on the grey side to match a colour as seen in nature. This may just be my perception of an image but it does make sense because it’s unlikely that a natural colour would be what we think of as a pure saturated colour. They do exist in nature, a butterfly’s wings for example, but that has more to do with how the colours are produced.

I Don’t Know Much About Art

So, you say I’m an artist (thank you) how can I not know much about art? I know that I like to paint which is a good thing since I have time on my hands. I know that things attract me because of their surface or the light falling on them or the way the light changes as it falls on them. I know that I see things in an image that I think I can improve to make a better image. A painting occasionally creates an illusion of reality or starts to look real, which is the thing that really motivates me and makes me want to paint more because wonder of wonders it sometimes happens to my own work. I don’t know how this happens or even why it happens, but I know I like it when it does and I hope it happens for others when they view my paintings.

I wanted to take art classes in school but unfortunately, I was reasonably good in sciences and so was pushed in that direction. I don’t hold a grudge against any of my teachers or counsellors because everyone knows that there is no money in art, although I don’t believe this I can understand why most people would. I’m not convinced that there is much to know about art. My enjoyment of it and need to do it has little or nothing to do with what I know about art. I don’t have much to say about my own art and I have less to say about anyone else’s art so I question what anyone says when they talk about art. Some people think they see deep meaning in art but there certainly isn’t any deep meaning to my own. Other artists might have an underlying meaning embodied in their art and how they do it but with my own I can only say that I do it because I like doing it. I might not like the final result; in fact, I often don’t but I enjoy the process. So, I don’t think I know much about art and I’m unconvinced that there is anything more to know; the best I have come up with so far is, try it and if you enjoy it, you are an expert.

Art Artistry and Talent

It is my opinion that anyone can draw. Apparently, Neanderthals did not or could not draw, at least we haven’t found any paintings on cave walls that we can attribute to them. For some reason we humans have a propensity for art but I’ve had a difficult time understanding how that might benefit us. I’ve mentioned my ideas of what I call the Reality Illusion and there could be some survival benefit to that so, our propensity for art may at one time, have had some beneficial effects for our survival.

If we imagine and see a potential hazard then we might be able to avoid that hazard. Creating a three-dimensional mental construct of our surroundings might give us a better chance of navigating the world around us without mishap, so perhaps a better chance of survival. If we imagine a Lion in the grass and there turns out to be one, then we might have a fraction of a second longer to climb a tree. This has little or nothing to do with my present art work but it’s definitely interesting and may have something to do with the reality illusion.

You might notice that I have set aside the portrait I was working on and replaced it with a simpler work. The portrait was progressing very slowly since I was making up most of it. The present project should be a bit of a holiday and should progress very quickly. I will revisit the portrait again later.

Colour doesn’t matter

Silly statement because of course colour matters; doesn’t it?

I’m presently working on a portrait and the subject will have leather boots. I’m putting in some highlights on the boots and it occurred to me that this is reflective light so what colour should it be? I’m making this image up as I go along. The reflected light could come from anywhere so the colour of the reflected light doesn’t really mater so long as it loosely fits my 3D visualization of what the scene should look like. The reflected light could come from anywhere both behind and in front of the subject of the portrait. The problem is believability, so the reflection needs to be of a quality and colour that is believable.

Favourite Museums

My favourite museum is the Metropolitan in New York. I have only been there a couple of times but my wife has been there several times. My most favourite thing about the Metropolitan is that I often get lost and it takes some time to get out, but I see something wonderful in the process. Some years ago, my wife and I were searching for the Arms and Armour exhibit and couldn’t find it. To be accurate I was looking for the exhibit, she kindly followed along. Looking around I was sure that we had walked by this particular area before, so I decided it was time to ask directions. I approached a staff member and asked where I could find the Arms and Armour exhibit; he pointed to a door not ten feet away.

Museums can be wonderful places. I like sculpture, but I am not a sculptor. We’ve just returned from a trip to Washington DC, and a look at the museums on the mall, including some Smithsonian museums. We saw a wonderful sculpture called the Veiled Nun. I don’t understand how you can see through marble but I could definitely see through the veil.



Do Something

I am stuck, with the painting on my easel. This has happened to me many times, both in this painting and others over the years. I remember one of my teachers saying “Do something” during one of these ‘stuck’ moments. She told me to put a large dollop of red onto the part of my painting that was giving me trouble. Ridiculous thing to do but I did it anyway and suddenly I began to see other problems with the painting and I was no longer stuck.

I don’t believe that red has anything to do with this phenomenon, but colour may have. The spot of contrasting colour seems to change the way I perceive the painting and opens other possibilities while allowing me to see problems that I couldn’t before. I don’t believe the colour red has anything to do with it so long as it’s a contrasting colour, white or black doesn’t seem to have the same affect. I’ve also tried various other colours but I don’t see any benefit so long as the colour is significantly different to others in the painting. I no longer use this contrasting colour trick, but I do follow the advice to simply DO SOMETHING and as soon as I do, my perception changes and other problems seem to leap off the painting.