I recently watched an interesting video by Mr. Paul Ingbretson about Painting Reproductions and it made me think about reproductions of my own art. I constantly struggle with photographing my art and I wonder how much I should share images of my work. A certain amount is necessary for the galleries that I show in or for posting things on my website. But I've really cut back on what I send and share. But why wouldn't I want to share images of my paintings?
I've written about similar ideas many times and I'm very passionate about this topic. Mainly because I'm very aware of the ever-growing trend to only view paintings online and to not make a pilgrimage to see these works in person. This total domination of photographic reproductions worries me.
There's a litany of reasons as to why all paintings showed be seen in person. The size/scale of the painting is ignored by viewing it on a screen, the color quality, surface texture (gloss/matte) is lost, the edges and contrasts are usually false, I could go on and on. I think one of the main issues is that a painting is not 2D; a painting has layers of paint built up and it actually creates a 3D image. This is more true of painters like Vermeer or Rembrandt who really take full advantage of the opportunities which oil paint has to offer through glazes to thicker areas.
For me, I share my art in my site's portfolio section and I enjoy writing on my blog. But I think of my website as more of an information catalogue instead of an honest viewing experience. But isn't it absurd to think that everyone can see my paintings in person? Maybe, but I care very deeply about my paintings and I believe they deserve to be seen in the best possible manner. And you may also say: Isn't it great to be able to see so many paintings that we don't have access to? (private collections, far away museums, etc.) I understand, but I don't think it's an advantage.
Have you ever met someone and been totally bowled over by their charm, beauty, intelligence, charisma, and general air? To me, that's what it's like to see a painting in person. Take that same person and take a single photo of him/her and try to extract that same depth from it. It's impossible.
Many of my teaching lessons revolve around these ideas of genuine study and real individual experiences. Yesterday, I had a student tell me that he sees paintings now in a new way as a result; this touched me deeply and I was honored that he said that. I think these ideas of nature and art are timeless and my goal is to share that message through my teaching. Reproductions may reach a higher and higher level of exactitude, but I will always be an artist who wants the real deal.
This video inspired me to write this post and I hope you will enjoy it as well.
This information comes from a great book which I came across last year. I wrote a BLOG POST about the book which I also encourage you to check out.
There's some great information in the book and technical insight which is interesting. Click the file link to hear my reading and additional commentary.
(Fondation Monet main site)
(Claude Monet info)
(Claude Monet's Home)
-https://fondation-monet.com/en/produit/monets-garden-at-giverny-rescue-and-restoration/ (Garden restoration book)
-https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10824-023-09473-y#:~:text=Clearly%2C%20Monet%20was%20a%20very,the%20sale%20of%20his%20paintings. (How did Monet become a millionaire?)
-https://www.theartnewspaper.com/2018/07/20/monets-lost-cat-returns-home-to-giverny (Monet’s lost cat returns home to Giverny)