Nature is Rarely Right - Whistler

May 27, 2020

“Nature contains the elements, in colour and form, of all pictures, as the keyboard contains the notes of all music. But the artist is born to pick, and choose, and group with science, these elements, that the result may be beautiful—as the musician gathers his notes, and forms his chords, until he bring forth from chaos glorious harmony. To say to the painter, that Nature is to be taken as she is, is to say to the player, that he may sit on the piano. That Nature is always right, is an assertion, artistically, as untrue, as it is one whose truth is universally taken for granted. Nature is very rarely right, to such an extent even, that it might almost be said that Nature is usually wrong: that is to say, the condition of things that shall bring about the perfection of harmony worthy a picture is rare, and not common at all.” - James McNeill Whistler on Aestheticism (

"I found this spot a few nights ago and kept thinking about the late afternoon glow on the leaves. As the leaves come in, there's a color pop that just sings, and that's what I wanted to paint. One of the reasons I saturate colors so much in my work is to recreate a sensation of light or energy. The colors aren't actually this intense, but the feeling of them is, and I want to share the excitement of my experience in the woods, instead of an exact copy of the slightly dulled color scheme that's actually there." - Colin Page

Related posts:

Colin Page on Color and Light
Color Key with Colin Page
The Artist's Perspective
Wolf Kahn on Painting Nature

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