What is the Reality in Art? How to achieve it?

In Drawing they say … “Learn to see”

In Philosophy they say … “ Know your self”

Wise people say …”Put yourself in other people’s shoes.”

The Buddhists say, “Truth waits for eyes unclouded by longing.”

American Novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald who is considered to be among the greatest twentieth-century American writers, said “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

What’s the true meaning of these words?

Let us interpret and analyse them to know the truth which they are trying to express.

Learn to see … this is what we read in many drawing books. What does this mean? We do drawing or sketch something, which is in front of us, it may be a pear, an orange, a vase, a landscape or a model. Usually we try to draw how it appears to us. In that approach we will draw a person or a thing how it appears to our eye.

‘ We will draw a person or a thing how it appears to our eye. ‘ I think the key lies here.

Master Animator Richard Williams says …

” Good drawing is not copying the surface. It has to do with understanding and expression. We don’t want to learn to draw just to end up being impassioned in showing off our knowledge of joints and muscles. ”

What he wanted to say in these words? …You are seeing the model. You are trying to draw however it appears to your eye. You are thinking it is the right way of sketching. The muscles, the joints whatever you are seeing, you are sketching it. You are feeling a lot of joy, because you are capturing the model as it is. Perfect replication. Then you have started to think you are a good artist, you have a wonderful skills of sketching. When you show your work to others they also feel the same what you have felt. They will praise you that you are a very talented artist. From that moment you will be on cloud nine. But … they are only clouds. You could not survive there for long. Falling from there is imminent. Because they have no base to stay. To survive you need a base. How to get that base?

Again Richard says…

“We want to get the reality that a camera can’t get. We want to accentuate and suppress aspects of the model’s character to make it more vivid.”

Here answer lies. Read again…

‘We want to get the reality that a camera can’t get.’

What he is trying to say?

He is stating “… Camera won’t able to get the reality so as artists we have to…”

Surprising statement! Is it not?

Usually everybody thinks camera will capture the perfect reality which we could not. That’s why hyper Realistic painting emerged which competes with high resolution photos. People think they are realistic.

But Richard stated … We want to get the reality that a camera can’t get. Are not his words conflicting with the general belief that camera will capture the perfect reality!? To get answer for his words we have to raise a question?

That is …”What is the Reality? “

Many people think what we are seeing is reality! Is it true? Scientifically it is not. Eyes will see everything upside down. The brain will map them to normal appearance. It’s believed that for the first few days newborns see the world upside down, as their brain just hasn’t learnt to flip the images yet.

Is it not amazing that what we are seeing with our eyes is not real! Then what is the reality? To know the answer for this, I will narrate a story to you.

In thirteenth century there was an artist Cimabue, he was honored as the first painter of modern times. One day he was riding through a valley. On the way he had seen a boy with a lot of sheep. He stopped to talk with the boy as he was tired from his journey and wanted a break. In a moment, He saw it. He was surprised at what he was seeing.

It was a drawing of a sheep on a flat stone which surprised him. It appeared full of life.

He asked the boy, ” Who drew it? ”

The Shepherd boy face blushed with embarrassment and slowly he answered ” I drew it with this ” and showed a sharp stone.

More surprise in Ciambue. Again he looked at the sheep drawing on the rock. Rarely will he see that kind of life in drawing even if it’s done by a professional artist.

” What makes this boy’s drawing capture so much life? ”

To know the answer for that question he started to talk with the boy. After talking for sometime he got the answer, why that drawing had that much life.

The boy used to come every day to the valley along with his sheep to feed them. Once he comes there he would forget everything, even the sheep. He used to observe everything whatever exists around him. Flowers, shrubs, bushes, stones, sky, hills, clouds and his sheep… He knew every movement of them by heart. How the flowers would glitter with sunshine, how the clouds were running in the sky, how the sheep would rest under the shadows of trees, how they move to find and eat grass, take rest, run from one place to another place ….

Slowly with time his heart was filled with those images, even in sleep he started to see them. Then one fine moment he took a piece of stone, sharpened and started to draw on the flat surface of a nearby large flat shaped stone. He had drawn everything what he knew through his heart. Everything, whatever came from his heart captured life.

After knowing the boy’s story, Cimabu took him to Florence to train him.

Later the shepherd boy became the first Renaissance painter who introduced accurate drawing from life which is called representative art. The boy’s name is Giotto.

While Byzantine period ended with Cimabu, Renaissance age started with Giatto.

Now, again we will come to our question, ”…What is the Reality? ” Why Cimabu was surprised by the shepherd boy’s drawing? If the camera clicks the same visuals, will it not get the same effect? ‘… Impossible.’

Why? Is not realistic whatever camera snaps? Does it not appear so? If not …why?

Keats says “Beauty is Truth, Truth is Beauty.”

Truth and Beauty exist together. The search for the inner truth is the search for the beauty. If we don’t understand the inner truth, the external beauty will fade away with time.

What is this inner truth and external beauty? How to understand it? How Giotto sketches are different from camera snaps? If the camera snaps are not realistic … are Giotto sketches realistic? If they are realistic …why?

Not only artists, whoever wants to be creative they should know the answers for these. Let us find the answers for these questions…

When camera clicks a scene, a figure or anything; it is just capturing its appearance.

Put this aside for a moment.

Sometimes when we are deceived or exploited by persons close to us, they may be relatives, friends or business partners; we will be advised by others that we should have been more careful about studying his true character which he had hidden from us.

” … Before associating with him in business you should have understood his true nature.” We are told like this.

That means the way that person appears to our eye is not real. When you understand what he thinks inside, how he behaves in different situations.. you will have understood his true character. That is reality. This is how we should analyse our friends, our relatives and our associates.

That’s why whatever you click with camera, that’s not real. It clicks only an external appearance.

Then again we will question, ‘If camera’s image is not real, how about Giotta’s drawings? Why do you say they are realistic?’

The answer is simple.

Giotto sketched those sheep from his experiences. He used to take them every day to feed and followed them everywhere. Observed them, most of the time to know what they are doing. Doing this act everyday, he had understood them, their body language, their movements, when they will search for food, when they like to take rest, when they will run … everything about them. That way he understood the inside and outside of the sheep.

Next… by everyday doing sketching, he achieved certain level of skills; Those skills helped him to execute what he experienced in his mind.

Robert Williams commented the same.

” Good drawing is not copying the surface. It has to do with understanding and expression. We don’t want to learn to draw just to end up being impassioned in showing off our knowledge of joints and muscles. ”

What he meant … to be creative you have to see the inside of the things and you have to analyse and interpret them. That is seeing the thing as a whole. It will lead you to the Third Eye.

What is this Third Eye? How Giotto got it?

Once again we will look into Giotto’s life.

He was a rural boy and uneducated, living in the village surrounded by hills. All his daily work was every morning he had to take out the sheep to the hills to feed them. Once he reached the hills, he did not have anything to do other than watching the sheep, how they look like when they are in hungry, How they look at their lambs, how the lambs are hopping, moving around mother sheep, how the mother sheep reacts for its babies sounds, how the the male sheep is looking at them, their body fur, the shine of their color in sunlight …. continuing this process day by day, month by month, his senses and mind were wholly absorbed by those sheep attributes, structures, movements … everything.

Slowly Giotto’s mind started to create his own world. In that world he had started to visualise the sheep the way he wanted to see. That’s his world. It was created by his vision, his intuition, his insight. You call this as a whole .. The Third Eye. This is Creative Eye. This eye will penetrate the surfaces, appearances and will go to the soul of the thing or a person.

The people whoever achieved great things had this third eye. To achieve this third eye we should learn how to see the thing as a whole. Key lies there.