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!