Why Realism?

There’s some grumbling out there, it’s about artists who paint realism. I paint realism, mostly. I hear the criticism… “it’s just copying”, and “there’s no creativity in it”,.. “why don’t you just take a photograph”.

But art is more than just how it looks to the casual observer. Whether abstract, impressionistic or realism. There are many choices to make before even starting a painting. Subject matter, concept, composition, colour, mood, intention… and more.

All these things are essential in a good painting, no matter how one approaches it, or expresses it. A painting, or any piece of art can be bad art if these elements aren’t considered well. They can also be bad if the skill is missing—it’s not one or the other and it applies across the board. Being ‘artsy’ is different from being an artist… and snobbery has infiltrated the world of art. Promoted by art sellers and art schools, they try to dictate what is ‘real art’… mostly to enrich themselves. Preference is a different thing altogether, and is very personal. This post is not about that.

Good art is, IMHO, a combination of vision AND skill. The method of expression varies from artist to artist and I refuse to think that just because someone has a different way of expression, that MY way is better than another’s. Realism is just as valid as abstraction, or impressionism, or cubism.. or whatever form that artist has chosen to develop.. they all take vision and skill and this snotty, unfounded criticism does all artists an injustice.

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