"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance." — Aristotle
Many people mistake artwork for work of art.
There’s no point in painting, for example, every single branch of a tree, which would be a (coloured) technical drawing — geometrical projection of reality that belongs in the realm of instructions manuals or anatomical portrait. What a painter should convey is the effect or illusion of all the branches, which is the essence of artistic translation of life.
Unlike photography, painting merges continuous string of moments and thus produces depth of field (all this of course refers to classical painting). A photo doesn’t convey human character in its entirety (at best its single facet), conversely, a painter watches the model for hours and compresses a great number of expressions and emotions into one image, which results in psychological depth (at least should do so).
To-day hardly anyone paints portraits from life — painters lack patience or just aren't up to the task, and with our fussy modern way of life models have neither time nor desire to pose as long as it takes. As far as I’m concerned, replicating digital photographs is pointless and even tacky — on the other hand par for the course in the age of cheap single-use slapdash consumer goods — a high quality digital photo has much more artistic value and looks much better on the wall. While “it requires a high level of technical prowess and virtuosity to simulate a false reality” ("high level of technical prowess and virtuosity" aren't sufficient for the creation of a piece of art), there’s a technique of transferring a digital photograph directly onto the canvas for those who seek an oil painting look — it’s much cheaper and the result is just the same.
When someone tells me my paintings are as real as photos I feel disappointed — either I screwed it or the person in front of me hasn’t the foggiest idea what art is. Instead, if someone says my paintings, especially portraits, are lifelike, then I feel flattered and, (up to a point), satisfied.
Human eye doesn’t see the reality the way a camera does. Camera doesn’t see the space, it sees the surface. Camera observes geometrically, but the painter should observe psychologically. What we perceive is general impression, whereas the great advantage of digital photography is that it allows to take close-ups of the smallest details that would otherwise remain unheeded.
The human eye can perceive scenes with a very high dynamic contrast ratio, around 1,000,000:1. Even the eye's static range is at any given time higher than the static range achievable by most display technology.
Although many manufacturers claim very high numbers, plasma displays, LCD displays, and CRT displays can only deliver a fraction of the contrast ratio found in the real world, and these are usually measured under ideal conditions.
That’s why no photograph ever manages to equal the dynamic range and the richness of palette of picture painted by a good master, which is as close as a reproduction by a human being can get to the real world.
The highest problem of any art is to cause by appearance the illusion of a higher reality. Johann von Goethe
I’ve always had a strong liking for portraits as nothing is more interesting to human beings than human beings, and always insist on using living models as subjects, which means people have to sit for me for quite a bunch of hours, depending on the technique. Apart from capturing the model’s likeness, I aim at representing the essential and peculiar, as opposed to the accidental and common about him/her (which is precisely the domain of photography). I don't use tricks, such as photographic slide projections or multimedia projectors that allow to trace over the transferred geometry.
I humbly drag in the footsteps of great masters, painting by conjecture and hindsight and trying to please both the eye and intellect.
Unfortunately I have very few pictures of my works (and, being the greatest procrastinator ever, few works too, since I usually work to order) due to either clients’ express wishes, circumstances or my own negligence. In addition, I can't upload pictures of most portraits for privacy concerns.
The custom still life I painted from life several years ago. An exception as I usually paint/draw portraits or landscapes. For obvious reasons (the photograph wasn't taken by me) the original painting differs measurably in color and tone from this picture. 'So full of life!', exclaimed the lady who commissioned the painting at seeing it for the first time.