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Realism plus Romanticism..My Style..

Realism in the visual arts and literature is the general attempt to depict subjects as they are considered to exist in third person objective reality, without embellishment or interpretation and “in accordance with secular, empirical rules.”
The approach inherently implies a belief that such reality is ontologically independent of man’s conceptual schemes, linguistic practices and beliefs, and thus can be known (or knowable) to the artist, who can in turn represent this ‘reality’ faithfully. As Ian Watt states, modern realism “begins from the position that truth can be discovered by the individual through the senses” and as such "it has its origins in Descartes and Locke, and received its first full formulation by Thomas Reid in the middle of the eighteenth century
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In its most specific sense, Realism was an artistic movement that began in France in the 1850s, after the 1848 Revolution. These Realists positioned themselves against Romanticism, a genre dominating French literature and artwork in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Seeking to be undistorted by personal bias, Realism believed in the ideology of objective reality and revolted against the exaggerated emotionalism of the Romantic movement. Truth and accuracy became the goals of many Realists. Many paintings depicted people at work, underscoring the changes wrought by the Industrial and Commercial Revolutions. The popularity of such ‘realistic’ works grew with the introduction of photography — a new visual source that created a desire for people to produce representations which look “objectively real.”…Below is a sampling of my realistic works…


View them here

Romanticism on the other hand validated strong emotion as an authentic source of aesthetic experience, placing new emphasis on such emotions as apprehension, horror and terror, and awe—especially that which is experienced in confronting the sublimity of untamed nature and its picturesque qualities, both new aesthetic categories.
It elevated folk art and ancient custom to something noble, made spontaneity a desirable characteristic (as in the musical impromptu), and argued for a “natural” epistemology of human activities as conditioned by nature in the form of language and customary usage. Romanticism reached beyond the rational and Classicist ideal models to elevate a revived medievalism and elements of art and narrative perceived to be authentically medieval in an attempt to escape the confines of population growth, urban sprawl, and industrialism, and it also attempted to embrace the exotic, unfamiliar, and distant in modes more authentic than Rococo chinoiserie, harnessing the power of the imagination to envision and to escape
…wiki See below examples of works that would be considered “romantic” since the subject matter has not been portrayed in a realistic manner…


View them here

In my quest to provide something for everyone, at the same time satisfy my need to explore all types of genres, I embrace both styles of painting, knowing full well that there are opinions on both sides of the argument as to which constitues “real art”..
For me realism is painting what I see, (easier to do), but in my “romantic” works I am painting what I feel…
The majority of my paintings are what I call the emotional works, painted intuitively, the types of works that are left open for the viewer to add their own feelings and emotions…they are the ones that ring a bell for the viewers past experiences, that they might return again and again to savour
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They encompass all subject matter from portraits to landscape, and everything in between including still life and food…they are semi realistic…..you can see quite clearly what the painting is all about, but I like to add something more that speaks to the viewer…sometimes you just can’t put your finger on it but it’s there all the same…a little bit of magic…instead of painting the tree to look like a tree, I suggest a tree….it’s what makes you come back to the painting again and again to look, to think, to try to figure out what it all means, or indeed if it means anything

But there are viewers who prefer to easily recognize what they see and for them my realistic works hold more appeal..the question for me however, (and this goes against the tenets of true realism), is always to add an emotional quotient to these works….how to make an apple or grape mean more than just a piece of fruit on a plate…viewers can admire the skill that went into making it look like you could pluck it right off the canvas, but to me a painting must be much more than a skilful rendition…it must be a poem or novel…not merely a police report
See Here

In the examples I showed above, the items in the Still Life paintings, (most of my realistic works are Still Life) are depicted in ways which are meant to draw the viewer in..the cakes are meant to make you long for some of it, to leave you hungry, the fruit look juicy, yet the backgrounds vary from newspaper to plastic bags, to giftwrap…all meant to intrigue and hold the viewer’s attention..
They are Still life paintings, but they leave you wondering what will happen when the doughnuts were eaten, or the juice from the oranges stain the paper…Still life but not really still when all is said and done
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In the end Realism becomes Romantic and Romance evokes Realism….it works for me..

Journal Comments

  • F.A. Moore
  • ©Janis Zroback
  • Cindy Schnackel
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  • Susan Duffey
  • ©Janis Zroback
  • Mui-Ling Teh
  • ©Janis Zroback
  • George Petrovsky
  • ©Janis Zroback