The seeds of realism

Dear Monty,

What started this line of thought about realism was a conversation with the shaft of illuminating light that is Ray - a ray of sunshine. Ray is an orchid grower, salesman and expert.

I met Ray again at this year's Orchid Festival at where along with botanical artist, I had a stand exhibiting my distinctly  non botanical paintings.

Having made a comment to him about how one visitor to my stand understood where I was coming from - in terms of my preferred style of painting, Ray pointed out that it was obvious to him which of my paintings were purely academic observation and which were not. (Ray prefers realism which is objective observation.) I understood his viewpoint, because reality to him is about what is in front of your eyes and it shouldn't be complicated with anything else, reality is just reality.

I bought a beautiful book from one of the other stands in the festival called 'Art of Nature'.Within its pages are magnificent observational drawings and paintings of flora and fauna from around the world. The drawings were made in the early days of discovery in the 'New World' and were made by artists and scientists in order to understand and make sense of what they were seeing.
Realism was an important tool in describing what was seen - and yet there is a beauty beyond the science emanating from the drawings - and it is this that complicates - or maybe simplifies things!

I was going to entitle this blog - the seeds of doubt - because I think that now we perhaps understand too much and have lost the sense of awe which is beyond academic observation.

Being in nature lifts the spirit - the question of what the spirit is has probably also had many academic papers written about it. But for me it is a sense beyond our usual day to day existence that links us with the power house of this creative world. We know what we mean when we use such phrases.

My spirit was lifted here in the coal tip cloister garden when the sun lit up the different leaf forms and deepened the shade. The skipping flight of speckled wood and peacock butterflies and the buzz of common carder bees, hover flies and honey bees all combined in a mysterious harmony, along with the breeze making leaves clatter and shimmer.

My life is enhanced by these things and I wonder whether there is a place any more in contemporary life for mystery and enjoyment of what is seen without resorting to science.

In my naivety this thrill of stepping out into the garden today is about more than just observation, there are layers of reality from the superficial to the internal and even infinite.



  1. and the sense of wonder, that sometimes catches our attention.

  2. Moments of epiphany, space for mysticism? Yes.

    1. I think that sense of mysticism and presence of something beyond the described, is such an important element in our lives (and gardens).

  3. Well, anyone who understands a little about science now knows that our 'reality' is incredibly limited. It's just the constrained human view of the world. Like to see the world as a dog does? Or see the individual cells we're made up of?

    Reality? Hmmm... XXxx


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