Sunday, April 12, 2009

Share the Love

I want to share with you one of my new favorite blogs. Painting Perceptions is a blog by Larry Groff, who is a wonderful painter of both urban and aux naturale scenes (I am purposely avoiding the term plein air painter). This blog however does not focus on his work, but on what else, perceptual painting. What is perceptual painting, you ask? As Larry describes it, "perceptual painting is painting with your vision as well as all the other senses. Not just the obvious easel set up in front of a landscape or still-life but also paintings done from studies, even photos and memory on occasion. Perceptual painting is not just copying nature but painting life from both vision and experience. As C├ęzanne said, “Painting is nature seen through a temperament.”

I stumbled onto this site at a most opportune time. You see, since starting this whole blogging adventure, I have begun to question categories and where exactly I and my work fit in. That was an unexpected side affect of becoming a blogger. Over all, I have always had a confidence about my work and why I do it (for joy and being able to 'say' something). So to be shaken and distracted by other ideals was, as I said, unexpected. I guess I was naive in thinking realism was realism. Over time (you think I would have gotten this from art school) I've discovered that their are all shades of realism, with all different definitions. I've discovered my work does not embody the ideals of classical realism, nor the refinement of atelier style realism, nor am I an alla prima painter as I often spend several sessions on each painting. I think my ignorance was wonderful and wish I could go back to it. I didn't have such questions about my work. I simply enjoyed making paintings. I used the terms representational, figurative and realist interchangeably. Now I stammer when someone asks me what I do. Larry's blog has given me comfort by describing and giving examples of other artists who represent their world in a similar way. There is no pretension, or elitism in his statements or the work shown. There is more I could say, but I think you should just make your own discoveries by visiting Painting Perceptions often.

Larry Groff
Mt. Woodson Boulder Group #9
oil on panel
8″ x 10″


  1. Terrific post! You often get a warped impression that most realists are of an academic leaning in many blogs and forums. I'm not sure why that is but I suspect many painters working from observed realism haven't yet embraced the possibilities of the blogosphere (too busy painting)

    There are probably as many types of realism as there are painters but I've found very few places on line that focus on leading artists working in a perceptual manner as well as other issues related to working from nature.

    Hopefully, my new site can begin to fill that void. Eventually, I'd like to see it become more of a community of like-minded people where lots of people contribute articles, video, images, etc - not just me. Perhaps start a forum associated with it.

    Thanks again,

  2. Alia,
    Thanks for the link to Larry's blog. It's wonderful! I've ordered a couple of the books he mentioned... the one from Alfred Leslie is fantastic. I'm inspired.

  3. Ohh good idea. I've had such little time to read (let alone paint) lately, that I haven't ordered any books... but my wish list is ever expanding :). I'm glad you enjoy his sites too.