The Laws of Nature

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Illusion vs. Reality


Louise Nevelson, a noted artist of the last millenium, once said "Illusion permits anything. Reality stops everything." I could ponder that statement forever. It reminds me of an incident in a watercolor workshop that I took nearly a decade ago. One student was laboring to exactly reproduce a photograph of a harbor scene - boats, water, pilings, near shore features, etc. The student had no idea about what was important in the scene, what had attracted him to it in the first place, or even the creative possibilities he could derive from it. At one point, the instructor stopped by the student's table and remarked that he should consider editing. Not everything in the photograph had to be in the painting. Not surprisingly, the student didn't know what to do. He couldn't veer from his path, so he kept going. The painting wasn't successful, the reference photograph was better. Back to Nevelson: "Illusion permits anything. Reality stops everything." Amen!

8 comments:

RHCarpenter said...

I think artists should have this tattooed somewhere on our bodies - where we can read it when we need to. For those faint of heart who don't want a tattoo, perhaps a scrap of paper in the studio to be seen whenever one walks away from a painting :) Good stuff and love love love your paintings of eggs in all the colors and depth you achieve.

Celeste Bergin said...

thanks for sharing that story..it is deep! (I love Nevelson). The eggshell painting that accompanies this post is luminous....is it new?

Kathy said...

Thanks for the comments, RH. Hmmm.. a tattoo parlor just opened up down the street from me...maybe I'll get this done ;-)

And, thanks for commenting, Celeste. The painting was completed over a year ago but I've never shown it before.

Sheila said...

When I visit blogs in the morning, I find I leave yours last so I can linger a little longer to ponder and let your words sink in and let them swirl around my head for a while. Thanks for letting me have my mental 'dessert' this morning!

Mary Paquet said...

Kathy, thanks for visiting my blog and commenting on my latest piece done in a creativity workshop. I am honored that such an accomplished artist took time to comment.

I am delighted to have found your blog. Your posts on art are fascinating and so well written. And the art blew me away. I love your two from your trilogy on the economic collapse. The DC painting especially speaks to me. Though beauty is not required for good art, your content is greatly enhanced by the beauty you create.

Kathy said...

Sheila,
I'm truly honored by your attention to my humble little blog and appreciate your comments. I look forward to your blogs as well!

Mary,
How generous! Thank you for visiting my blog and taking time to comment!

r garriott said...

What a great quote. It's true, an artist has to know what to leave out as much as what to put in.

(..and I love your eggshell paintings!)

-Don said...

Great quote. Great blog. Not much more I can add except, AMEN!