13 Mar

Truth and Art

There are arenas where creativity is welcome, even necessary. Cooking, gardening and teaching come to mind, and, of course, painting. Nobody needs me to do a completely realistic painting of a scene when everybody has cameras in their phones. A touch of creativity is needed to recapture the energy and wonder I felt.

Other areas of life rely on facts and data, not loosey-goosey interpretations of them. Scientific experiments, building construction, and medicine come to mind. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, advisor to Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon, said “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

For my paintings, this means there are guidelines to which I adhere. Enhancing reality through creativity is one thing, but distorting something until it is unrecognizable is another. So while I’ll alter the color of a building, I more or less follow rules of perspective so you know it’s a building and it’s not tilted over. I’ll move, add or remove scenery, but still use traditional techniques to show depth and distance. I’ll change a shape, but still show volume and where the light is coming from.

Expressionistic my paintings might be, full of personal color choices to express the energy I felt from the subject. However, there is always that note of reality. This latest painting in my Havana series is a perfect example.  You know full well what you are seeing, but you are seeing it in a more exciting way than your camera could. And that’s where the creativity comes in!


  1. Your posts always get me thinking. It reminds me, in a way, of trying to teach fact versus opinion, which I always try to do in my classroom.
    Facts are not necessarily truths and facts can change. (like what we learned about atoms when I was a child compared to what we know about them now) My students have a difficult time grasping the concept of fact or opinion, as I also sometimes do! We are blessed with your art that does both.

  2. The best part of being an artist is altering reality into something that is uniquely our own. Your use of color, shape and energy are a delightful reality.

  3. I’ll be thinking about this as I forge my creations and teach the workshops in the next week or so !
    Thank-you, my friend!

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