Lively Discussion about Realism

Pat Harrison landscape paintingsPainters ONLINE are having a lively discussion about realism. The arguments express my own thoughts to a large degree.

It revolves around the question of how far should an artist go with realism. Should realism turn to photo realism?

My personal view is that a painting should present the viewer with something a photo cannot give him. It should always show off the artist´s skills and the art of composition. After all a painter can turn a dull photograph into an attractive scene by adding items the camera missed. You can have cloud formations where there weren´t any. You can have people or animals in an otherwise bare landscape. You can have summer in the winter and much more.
A good photographer will have an eye for a subject. He will wait for the light to be right and present us with a brilliant photograph. A painter should do more than just copy a photo. Compare it with music. If you can play an instrument that´s great. If you are a virtuoso that´s even better don´t you think?


About Pat Harrison

Painting and drawing have been my passion from early childhood. I have attended numerous exhibitions in England and Germany. Presented with the Judges Award at a show I now have one of my paintings on permanent display at a museum in Greater London with growing sales and commissions.
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4 Responses to Lively Discussion about Realism

  1. Amanda Bates says:

    Thanks for the link, Pat.

    It’s not just the addition of discrete elements to a painting that distinguishes the painted image from photography; I think it’s also subtle (or less subtle!) changes in colour, and the direct link to the artist’s hand that can be seen in “painterly” marks.

    Incidentally – the term “realism” is one to take care with. Give it a captital letter and there is potential confusion with the political intent behind Courbet and friends’ Realist work.

  2. Yes, and what he wants others to see.

  3. Pia says:

    “A painter paints what he wants to see”

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