by Janet Glatz
I am most known for my realistic paintings of Maine and New England. Often, people will say to me, "Wow! That looks like a photograph!" There is a certain pride in having people notice how hard I worked on detail and light. On the other hand, over the years I've tended toward softening things up a bit, and have heard that phrase less often.
The three artists below represent to me some of the finest contemporary realism painters in recent years.
When I look at Danby's work, yes, I see that it looks like a photographic image; but I also see the softness he gave to surfaces, and the depth to the water. His gracefulness of line is wonderful, too. Can't you just feel the wind ruffling the tops of those trees?
The majority of Bateman's paintings are acrylic on various media, and have been shown in major one-man exhibitions around the world. Bateman also has numerous books devoted to his works. After two decades as a high school teacher, he became a full-time artist in 1976. A year later Mill Pond Press started making signed, limited edition prints of some of his paintings; over the years, these prints resulted in millions of dollars being raised for environmental causes.
I've always loved Robert Bateman's work and have tried to emulate its natural honesty. He is light handed with color, which seems to emphasize the detail. In your own work, do you rely on color and strong contrast to make detail stand out, or, like Bateman, keep your tones subtle and rely on the nuances of light?
Wow, is all I can say. How can a painting that is so obviously made of unfettered brushstrokes, liberal paint helpings, and an almost impetuously drawn composition be so utterly "real?" Gotta say, though I love her work, it is beyond my abilities. What about you? Is this kind of realism something you'd like to try?
Leave your comments below and if you like, send some images of your work by email to firstname.lastname@example.org! I'd love to see them.
For more about and by Janet Glatz, visit www.janetglatz.com