Tuesday, June 5, 2012

ART AND ARTIFICE

Smuggler's Crossing     9x12     oil on canvas pane.

This one didn't need a great deal of rearranging.  The main thing was reconfiguring the mountain cliffs, and the view into the distance, to more comfortably suit the design.  Then, of course, the color has been toyed with.  Things have been left out or added as I felt necessary to the painting I wanted to make.

Photos lie!  All of them.  Most notably they lie about value and color relationships , so you have to be careful not to believe everything they show you.  That's one of the important things about getting outside to paint.  You develop a sense of how things really look, which helps to avoid the trap of mechanically copying photographs.  Instead, by means of artifice, we represent something with ulterior motives.  It isn't my intent to relate the dry facts about a thing I've seen.

The painting itself is a lie, but it's MY lie.  After all, art and artifice share the same root.  Artifice is defined as "clever or cunning devices or  expedients used to trick or deceive others".  A painting is an artificial construct.  It is not the thing itself, and it is intentionally arranged so as to be appreciated for its beauty and emotional power.  In the best paintings, beauty and emotional power are not properties of the thing seen, but of the painting itself.

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