How to Make Paintings Look Real
|Oil Painting with Realism|
The sky is blue, all chairs have four legs, all fingers are long, children are scaled-down versions of adults, all shadows are dark, snow is white, the grass is green and all eyes are almond shaped.
When it comes to what the eyes sees, the above is often not true: Skies can be silver or indigo, chairs can appear to have three or two legs, fingers may appear stubby in foreshortening, children have different proportions to adults, snow can appear blue, shadows can be orange, grass can be violet and eyes can be lots of shapes.
These are simplified examples, but the dictatorial part of the brain may interfere with the painting process in very subtle ways which the artist may not always be aware of, such as how a line curves or the chromatic shift of the sky.
Why Paintings Look Disappointing
What is the solution to this dilemma? The theory is simple, the practice is more difficult: Shut off the dictatorial part of the brain. This will help not only the painting process, but the whole business of creating realistic art, including drawing, pastels and watercolours.
Illustrating the world how it actually is can be done by the following strategies:
View the subject matter in front as abstract shapes and lines rather than what it is. A cup is no longer a cup, but a jigsaw of colour and tone. Half-closing the eyes will help simplify this jigsaw. Ensure also that the photograph is good quality. Lack of visual information will force the artist to fill in the gaps.
- Keep looking at the photograph or subject matter in front. Not doing so means relying upon memory and the memory is the enemy of realistic art. Memory is where the dictatorial part of the brain takes over.
- If copying from a photograph, turn the photograph and painting upside down.
- Stand at least ten feet from the painting periodically. This will help the artist appreciate the painting as a whole rather than in its parts.
- View the painting through a mirror. This will reveal hidden errors in the painting.
- Take half an hour’s break from the painting and return with a fresh view.
|click to buy from Amazon|
Oil Painting Techniques for Realism
Overriding the dictatorial part of the brain will take the artist a long way towards creating realism. However, the artist may use art techniques to achieve a high finish. A combination of oil painting glazing and fine detail will create a photographic painting. Smooth effects can be achieved by applying two or three translucent layers of oil paint for skies or backgrounds for instance. A broken glaze can be applied for skin tones and dog fur. A few touches with a fine sable will create realistic hair and highlights.
Art Materials for Realism
The following are vital if the artist hopes to achieve photographic realism in paintings:
- Good quality photos.
- A good range of oil colours that include the primaries. Cadmium yellow (pale), permanent rose and pthalo blue are close to the mark. Other essential pigments are: titanium, ultramarine, cadmium red, burnt sienna, burnt umber, lemon yellow and viridian.
- Good quality fine sables such as Kolinsky. Winsor & Newton or Daler Rowney are good manufacturers of sable brushes.
- Linseed oil for thinning the oil paint to glazes.
- An alert artist.
External Links on Creating Realism in Oil Painting