If one uses “realism” in referring to accurate descriptive painting of objects from “organic” (non-manmade) nature, I think one needs to realize to begin with: painting is a 2-D (dimensional) medium. It only operates in the width and height dimensions. A painter can only imply or suggest the third dimension of “depth” or the fourth dimension of ”time”. These formal (technical) issues of principles of composition create a very strong problem with what one experiences in nature. Very few things in the visible world of nature are purely flat and nothing in nature is totally still. Organic things that are alive are full of movement and dead things are decomposing. We instinctively know, sense, this. So this creates quite a challenge for painters to not only satisfy their own understanding of what they see but to offer convincing images of nature to others.
I am going to plan to discuss this issue of painting in “realism” in much more depth in another post, but for now I am celebrating this memory reminder of beginning this visual art journey 49 years ago. As you can see today I am not painting in the same approach that I started out in, as evidenced by the image of the painting on the right above. I am still referencing elements from organic objects in nature, but not choosing to be as faithful as possible to anatomical details, 3 -D properties, or local color (color seen in the object I am working from). Looking at what was probably my first “plant” painting suggests I possessed the skills to be able to develop quite an accurate, convincing ability to paint organic nature in probably a photo-realistic approach. Apparently I have chosen a different path as my reason for “seeing” has also developed over the years. I am planning to discuss this in a future post as well.