Sometimes I think that photographers, especially nature photographers, have a bigoted approach towards nature painters. It might be a type of reverse snobbery. Obviously photography was created, and continues to advance, with the goal of re-creating real life as accurately as possible. After the act of clicking the shutter, much can be done to alter that reality, and some photographers choose to walk that road, but most don’t. I am one that chooses not to make “photoshop creations”. That being said, a lot can be done with a camera to carefully select and guide your vision when in the field, and to make images that show the extraordinary side of the ordinary. Different vantages points, lens selections, and use of light and shadows, are common concepts used by many photographers including myself (sometimes), to make pictures that seem different from the norm. To be more succinct, even photographers control, if not alter, reality.
Painting is different from photography in every sense. Whether you paint from a photograph, or use the plein-air method of painting on location, your mind and your hands, were not designed to copy nature in total reality.
I personally, do not view painting through the same set of eyes as I do photography. There are not photoshop techniques in painting. Only how you “see” everything and anything, and how you put that on canvas ( or paper etc.), matters. As an observer of paintings, the only thing that “normally” matters to me, is how the work of the artist affects me, both literally and emotionally. I do not have an inner set of guidelines the way I do with photography.
I do admit that I prefer a touch of realism to paintings of animals and human beings. I am open to anything, it just seems that I fall flat with a painting of a bear or a cowboy ( not football), that defies reality. Not true with landscapes or subjects like flowers or rocks. Then anything goes, and my decision to like or not, rests mostly on my emotional reaction to what’s in front of me.
I have also found that paintings vary greatly in their feel, depending on what sort of material was used to paint on. Large tooth canvas’s and other heavily textured materials, produce a different feel than smooth boards and so on. I can enjoy either, but prefer some texture. As a photographer, I did use canvas at times for prints, and loved a textured paper called “rag”.
There are also large differences in accordance to the paint used. Acrylics and oils have similar properties but water color is a whole different medium.
One thing I’ve noticed about art critics when it comes to painting, is that it seems it is the brush stroke that they look at first and foremost. I won’t pretend to be able to evaluate a brush stroke, but I do know they effect me positively or negatively. Photographs of paintings do a very poor job of illustrating the brush stroke. With that having been said, you can still see those strokes a little in today’s photographs.
I think Collin Bogle would be listed as a realist, when it comes to his wildlife paintings. At a glance, they do resemble photographs. I believe his personalization of his wildlife work, can be seen in the texture, be it from the canvas they are painted on, or some brush technique that he employs. I enjoy his art thoroughly and especially like his use of light. He does have the feel of a photographer, but that added texture adds a little magic for me.
Tucker Smith is a wildlife/landscape combined artist who has a little different feel to his images than does Collin. I think both are valid. Each tells us a little different story and they tell us a little bit about the artists. In Tucker’s case, he seems to love the American west and the animals that reside there. I can feel his reverence for both.
I personally love the early French and American Impressionists when it comes to landscape painting, but the “almost” Impressionist also holds much allure for me.
Let’s look at the work of two well-known deceased artists.
Anna Armona is from the Ukraine and she passed away in 2011. She was a prolific painter and her abstract style was very popular during her lifetime. My selection today displays her flare for using small bits of form, such as the tree limbs, combined with spatterings and flecks of high color. I like her paintings as they make me smile.
Isaac Levitan died in 1900 and he was a well known Impressionist landscape artist. Impressionism became in vogue after early rejections by art critiques. As is often the case, what was once scorned becomes the norm, and then other variations in style become the newly scorned.
When it comes to current landscape artists, Stephan Bauman is a favorite of mine. He practices the aforementioned plein-air style of painting outside and on location. I have selected from Stephan’s portfolio a grand landscape, and intimate landscape, and an intriguing still-life painting of a table full of onions. It appears as though Stephan uses Olympus digital cameras to shoot his website jpgs of his paintings.
I hope you have enjoyed viewing the work of today’s artists, and are supportive of my bringing to you arts that fall outside the realm of photography.
It seems as though rock music has lost another icon as Glenn Frey of the Eagles is dead at 67. Time marches on.
Thanks for stopping and may God Bless, Wayne