Welcome Fairy Tale lovers!  Seen all the great old Fairy Tale Art in books, calendars and cards and STILL can't get enough? This gallery is for you!  Click the control key plus the + or - keys to zoom in and out or fit the page match to your monitor's settings or rotate your picture phone sideways for best results and use your fingers to zoom in...

"Stories that never grow old..."







"Little Red Riding Hood" MMXII [left],  "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" MMXVIII & "The Frog Princess" [right] MMXIV "I've always loved the unrealistic anthropomorphic portrayals of the animals in these classic fairy tales... The Frog Princess is the Russian version, there was al;so a frog prince in another... Regarding The Three Bears" There are SO many versions of this story... it started out with a silver haired old woman who was eaten alive, I prefer the more humorous "Goldilocks as a force of nature" version...






"Poor Cinderella" MMX (Left) "Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother" and "Queen Cinderella"

Rags to Riches: Cinderella was so named because her step-mother made her sleep on the stone in the fireplace hearth and was always covered in cinders. The fairies appeared to her in the form of birds to work their magic; alas there was no fairy godmother in the story. Walt Disney re-invented many of these stories for his films with extra scenes and characters to get them up to screen running times. Poor Cinderella was done to compliment Queen Cinderella and both are part of a new series of classic fairy tale illustrations David is working on...






Of all Shakespeare's works A Midsummer Night's Dream has had the most compelling hold on the imagination of painters. William Blake made a series of watercolors in the early 1790's. By the mid 1800's a tradition developed among British and Scottish Painters that continues today all over the world in every known form of art media...







"The Snow Maiden" from Russia,  rode a bear like a horse "Ye Faerie Queene" rode a unicorn and "The Ice Fairy Princess" had a snow leopard for her familiar... all MMXIV








 "How the Dragon was Tricked", Vassilissa La Belle" and "The 3-Headed Dragon of Kostshei the Undead" all MMXIV 








"The Elf King's Daughter " ~ a contemporary fairy tale mash-up based on German & Celtic Myths MMXIV 







It was In 1835 Hans Christian Andersen published the first edition of his immortal "Fairy Tales" including "The Little Mermaid", "Thumbelina", "The Snow Queen", "The Steadfast Tin Soldier", and the "The Ugly Duckling". What stood out he most to me when I first read these was the conspicuous absence of Fairies in these Classic "Fairy Tales".







Classic Fairy Tales: The Golden Age of Fairy Tale  Illustration began in the wake of publications such as the fairy tales edited by the Brothers Grimm, Minstrelsy of the Scottish Borders by Sir Walter Scott and revivals of the plays of William Shakespeare. Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm first began collecting the stories in 1807 and published the first edition of 80 tales in 1812 and expanded it to 170 by the second edition in 1822.








"The Flower Fairy" MMV,   "The Prince and the Dragon" MMXIV and "Faerie Tales" MMX








 The stories collected by the Brothers Grimm featured many folktale creatures, such as dwarfs, giants, and monsters, but nothing was as popular as the Fairy Tales. They quickly became the best-known story tellers of folk tales from Europe, and their book made stories like "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", "Cinderella", "The Sleeping Beauty", "Little Red Riding Hood", "Hansel and Gretel", "Rumpelstiltskin", "Rapunzel", and "The Frog Prince" famous the world over.









"Baba Yaga" MMX  "The Empress" MMXIV and "The Fish with the magic needle in the egg" MMX 




      Fairy knight faerie male steed hare       




"Peter Pan" and "Horror of Tinkerbell" MMXIV All in Mixed Media including 3D modeling









"The Protector of the Forest" MMX, and "A Centauride" and "Frigg takes oaths from all living Creatures" MMXIII








"The Little Mermaid" MMX,  "Merbabies" and "The Ascension" were all done in  MMXII in mixed media including 3D








The Lady of the Lake"  and Waxing romantic with "Little Daylight" MMX






 Artists and writers initially took their cue from these collections of fairy tales but soon began devising their own scenarios. A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Sleeping Beauty are above: These fairy tales written by William Shakespeare and compiled by the Brothers Grimm and the illustrations they spawned helped to create a mythical, magical never-never land from our folklore. 








"Sleeping Beauty" and "Snow White" below are based on the stories in "The Fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm" which was first published as Children's and Household Tales (German Kinder- und Hausmärchen) and later under the title, "The German Book of Popular Stories" as they themselves did not write any of them but compiled them for publication, rather like what Aesop did with his book of fables. These stories were handed down by oral tradition for many generations and still captivate readers of all ages in all forms of media...

























Thank you for visiting the Classic and Contemporary Fairy Tales Art Gallery of Howard David Johnson...

This page is lovingly dedicated to all the Immortal writers whose Fairy Stories who inspired me...

Music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky ( 1840- 1893) - Swan Lake.



Enter a world of Beauty and Imagination...


The Realistic and Fantastic Art Galleries of Contemporary American Illustrator Howard David Johnson

Click on these Fun Educational Realistic Art Gallery link icons  for Two-fisted Tales of VALOR & Frontline Combat featuring Legendary Warriors of History, Knights and ladies of Arthurian Legend, Celtic, Nordic, Asian and Olympian gods & monsters, unicorns, dragons, fairies... and more!

Alamo btn.jpg (17997 bytes) deutsche mythologie.jpg (14999 bytes)

btn celtic&.jpg (15723 bytes)

The World's Great Religions Art Gallery.jpg (14460 bytes)

Asian mythology Art Gallery.jpg (13921 bytes)

Greek Myths Link.jpg (17046 bytes)

Mythic-Women Art Gallery Link.jpg (19893 bytes)
King Arthur Legends of History

Greek Mythology

Norse Mythology Fantasy Art Celtic Mythology Religions of the World Asian Mythology Angel Art Spartan Warriors Fairy Paintings  Mythic women
Digital Realistic Art Gallery Link.jpg (17603 bytes) _A History of Dragons.jpg (14657 bytes) Colored pencil portraits Art Gallery II.jpg (12252 bytes) Realistic Art Instruction link.jpg (14563 bytes) Pre- raphaelite Art link.jpg (16219 bytes)
Mermaid Art  History Part Two

Digital Techniques

History of Dragons Pencil Portraits I Studio Photography Colored Pencils II

Art Instruction

Realistic Paintings Pre-Raphaelite Art Legendary Women Warrior Women
_Btn.res.jpg (4044 bytes) _Thumbelina_copy.jpg (3431 bytes) Fairies - Realistic art gallery link.jpg (17733 bytes) ~The seven wonders of the ancient world btn.jpg (14813 bytes)
The Art of War  Mythic Creatures About Realistic Art Art of  Res Publica Beautiful Women Art NuVeau  Fantasy Pin ups Fairy Lore Flower Fairies

The Seven Wonders

Science Fiction Art   Lady of Shallot
~symbolist art.jpg (15008 bytes) btn.com.2.jpg (15461 bytes) _Btn.abouthdj.jpg (3569 bytes) Free Fairy Wallpapers link.jpg (17183 bytes)
Catholic Art  Art of the Bible Symbolist Art Surrealist Art Commercial Art Business Center Style & Technique  Biographical Paintings in Oils Russian Mythology Classic Fairy Tales Art Link Exchange

All these pieces of art and the text are legally copyrighted and were registered with the U.S. Library of Congress Office of Copyright by the author, Howard David Johnson All rights reserved worldwide. Permission for many academic or non-commercial uses is freely and legally available by simply contacting the author via e-mail or visiting www.howarddavidjohnson.com/permission.htm



Who is American Illustrator Howard David Johnson?

In one of David's invitations to the Florence Biennale Contemporary Art Exhibition, (a partner in the United Nations' Dialog among Nations), UN Secretary General Kofi Anon wrote him: "Artists have a special role to play in the global struggle for peace. At their best, artists speak not only to people; they speak for them. Art is a weapon against ignorance and hatred and an agent of public awareness... Art opens new doors for learning, understanding, and peace among nations."

      Howard David Johnson is a contemporary realistic artist and photographer with a background in the natural sciences and history.  David works in a wide variety of mixed media ranging from oil on canvas to digital media. David's realistic illustrations have made appearances in every major bookstore and game shop chain in America as well as magazines and educational texts around the world. 

   Some of David's more prestigious clients have included the University of Texas, the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge in England, The Australian Mint, The National Geographic Society, Paramount Studios, Universal Studios, MGM Studios, Warner Brothers Home Video, ABC/Disney, CBS TV, PBS TV, The History Channel, Enslow Educational Publishers, Adobe Photoshop, Auto FX, Tree-Free Greeting, Verizon wireless, Apple IPOD, Penguin, Doubleday (Now Random House), Harlequin Top Historical Romances, and the History Book of the Month Club, as well as appearing in periodical publications like Popular Photography and the Wall Street Journal.   


A Traditional style portrait of the artist. [Photo by his son Erich.]

   After a lifetime of drawing and painting, David's Traditional Art was exhibited in the British Museum in London in 1996, ( 3 years before he got his first computer ) as well as numerous American ones since, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 


    Working in a variety of media David offers his customers a variety of options and more than three decades of experience. As an illustrator he has not only used the computer but has been involved in the development and marketing of software for Adobe Photoshop. Digital art, Colored pencils, Pastels, Mixed media, & also Oil Paintings can also be commissioned for select projects.Digital illustration projects start at $500.U.S. and group rates are available. David delivers custom made copyright free illustrations & old fashioned customer service when he does work-for-hire. To publish existing pieces of his realistic art, David sells licenses starting at only $99.USD.


You can e-mail for more details at: 


Your business, letters and links are always welcome!




This Gallery has been honored by more than 35,000,000 Unique Visitors 

from the Four Corners of the Earth

My Friends from around the world thus far :

England,   Canada,   Scotland,   Wales,   Ireland,   Germany,   France,   Monaco,   Andorra,   Italy,   The Vatican City State,  Greece,  Macedonia,  Cyprus,  Turkey,  Belgium,  Denmark,  The Faroe Islands,  Greenland,  Yugoslavia, Macedonia,  Croatia,  The Czech Republic,  Bosnia,  Herzegovina,  Slovakia,  Slovenia,  Luxembourg,  Latvia,  Estonia, Hungary,  Bulgaria,  Lithuania,  Poland,  Austria,  Romania,  Spain,  The Russian Federation,   Estonia,   Ukraine,   Kazakhstan, Moldova,  Malta,  Iceland,  Finland,  Norway,  Netherlands,  Switzerland,  Liechtenstein,  Sweden,  Portugal,  Albania, Armenia, Georgia,  Slovak Republic,   Azerbaijan,  Belarus,  Kazakhstan,  Gibraltar,  Israel,  Palestinian Territories,   Egypt,   Libya,  Mali, Algeria,  Niger,  Saudi Arabia,  Oman,   The United Arab Emirates,  Kuwait,  Bahrain,  Qatar,  Yemen,  Iraq,  Iran,  Jordan, Syria,   Lebanon,   Morocco,   Ethiopia,   Eritrea,   Liberia,   The Republic of Congo,   Rwanda,   Kenya,  Angola,  Ghana, The Ivory Coast,   Zambia,   Zimbabwe,   Sudan,  Nigeria,  Namibia,  Sudan,  Uganda,   Kenya,  Eritrea,  Tanzania,  Botswana, Malawi,  Senegal,  Djibouti,  Cameroon,  Chad,  Gambia,  Mozambique,  Swaziland,  Lesotho,  South Africa,  Seychelles,   Viet Nam, Japan,  South Korea,  China,  Hong Kong,  Macau,  Mongolia,  Mauritius,  Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia,  Laos,    Myanmar,  Macau,  Malaysia,  Taiwan,  Nuie,  New Zealand,  Fiji,  Cook Islands,  New Caledonia,  Vanuatu,  American Samoa,  Australia,  Micronesia,  Polynesia,  Papua New Guinea,  The Heard and McDonald Islands,  The Philippines, Guam,  Palau,  Cocos Island,  The Kingdom of Tonga,  Malaysia,   Brunei Darussalam,  India,   Pakistan,   Afghanistan, Bhutan,  Bangladesh,  Sri Lanka,  Chagos Islands,  The Republic of Maldives,  Turkmenistan,  Kyrgyzstan,  Uzbekistan, Tajikistan,   Azerbaijan,   Nepal,  Indonesia,  Chile,  Argentina,  Uruguay,  Paraguay,  Brazil,  Peru,   Aruba,  Venezuela,  Bolivia, Suriname,  Guyana,  Aruba,  The Dominican Republic,  Guatemala,  Costa Rica,  Colombia,  Trinidad and Tobago,   Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados,  The Virgin Islands,  Saint Lucia,   The Netherlands Antilles,  Panama,   Northern Mariana Islands,   Saint Vincent & Grenadines,   Grenada, Ecuador,  Belize,   Nicaragua,   El Salvador,   Bermuda,  Cuba,  Jamaica,  Dominica,  Haiti,  Puerto Rico,  Cayman Islands,  The Bahamas,   Honduras,   Mexico,    Madagascar, Central African Republic,   Ethiopia,   Gabon,   San Marino,  Saint Kitts & Nevis Anguilla,  Burkina Faso,   Equatorial Guinea,   Polynesia,  Madagascar,   Mauritania,   Burundi,   and my home, The Great Free State of Idaho (USA)...

If your home is not listed here please e-mail and tell us where you're from...


Your business, letters and links are always welcome!






Gorgeous ARCHIVAL Quality Printing!

For a LIMITED time and a LIMITED print run many of the illustrations in Johnson's vast portfolio are now available!



[of a maximum 1,000 prints per image]


Each inspected, hand signed and numbered by the artist!



Sized to fit standard frames!

20x16 inch image size [508x406mm] & 14x11 inches [356x280 mm]





Poster Size Reprints!


The Johnson Galleries prints these "in-house" with our new state of the art Epson 7890 oversize printer on Epson 200 year premium photo paper and canvas with Epson inks!


Many Large Original Oil Paintings (and drawings) are now for sale: Realistic Oil Paintings- Portraits & Illustrations. 

~ 1996- 2018~ Our 22nd year online 

Original Art Sale

   Dozens of Large Oil Paintings on premium linen canvas, acrylics on Bristol board and Prismacolors and inks on Bristol are now available for sale. Also, the invitation to commission an all new painting is extended...




       Dozens of Johnson's 38 x 28 Oil Paintings on linen canvas are currently available for sale. Many digital works can also be rendered in oil on canvas like the 20x16 oil on canvas Faerie Guardians 2006 (below center). Each design will only be rendered in oil once at this size and can be delivered FEDEX or equivalent in as little as 60-90 days. Every original comes with a signed dated Certificate of Authenticity.




"Those who are enamoured of practice without science are like a pilot who goes into a ship without rudder or compass and never has any certainty where he is going. Practice should always be based upon a sound knowledge of theory, of which perspective is the guide and gateway, and without it nothing can be done well in any kind of painting."

Howard David Johnson is a visual artist and photographer with a background in
the natural sciences and history. He works in a wide variety of media ranging from traditional
oils,  pastels and others to cutting edge digital media. He loves mixing media. This site features
examples of his Pictures, including illustration, photography, experimentalism, & fine art.
The various galleries linked to by the icons above show many examples of His Realistic Art, and are grouped by theme rather than media. There are also several special pages with discussion of media & galleries devoted to History, Classical Mythology, Women of Mythology, & Celtic & Asian Myth & Legend.

Howard David Johnson American Illustrator. 

      Since boyhood he has passionately copied the old masters. Using a strategy employed by J.W. Waterhouse (The old master David has imitated most) - his wistful and graceful models cannot be underestimated in their contribution to the stunning beauty and the potential for lasting appeal of his work. To create his work, he usually starts with a thematic concept, then working in his Photography studio with live models. He then assembles a variety of elements which are realistic and original. As a boy he dedicated his life to art in 1960. From 1965- 1999 he used xeroxes and tracings to make his preliminary photo montages. This is patterned after  the manner used by Maxfield Parrish and other 19th century notables. For this he offers no apology as many of the greatest artists in history employed any and all means of technology at their disposal such as Camera Obscura or even the evil manufactured tube paints. See his article below: "On Art and Technology: When Seeing is Not Believing" An essay dealing with mechanical aids to visual art from Camera Obscura to Computers for more on this. The digital montage is a natural evolution of the preliminary photo collage David learned from great Realistic illustrators like Maxfield Parrish and Norman Rockwell. You'd think by now everything would have been tried but it hasn't. Exploring new art mediums is just as exciting today, just as full of freshness and newness as it has ever been.

    His favourite medium for realistic art is colored pencil because of the high speed and low expense, and people began expressing difficulty in telling his colored pencil drawing from photographs in the early 1980's.  In the last 35 plus years he has also mastered Oils, Pastels, Acrylics, Watercolors, Inks, Scratchboard, Gouache, Photography, and the highly controversial digital media. As a commercial illustrator Johnson has not only used the computer to create art but has been involved in the development of computer imaging software for Adobe Photoshop. Working in a realistic style inspired by classic illustrators HDJ is deeply rooted and grounded in the Greco-Roman artistic tradition, Feeling that with realistic art, the human form is the ultimate arena for artistic expression. His lifelong dream came true when his Traditional Realistic Art was exhibited in the British Museum in London England in 1996. His mixed media has also been displayed in numerous other ones since such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Having achieved international acclaim as a traditional visual artist he discovered digital media ( Art Numérica ) in 1999. Because of his passion for realistic art and photography he elected to embrace it and joyfully be a part of this historic era in the visual arts as a 21st century realistic visual artist.

`fig.0003-3a.jpg (47139 bytes)

     Since 1972 when he began his career as a scientific illustrator for the University of Texas he has earned his living illustrating all kinds of books, magazines, CD covers, and all sorts of games, greeting cards, calendars, portraits, murals and the like with his contemporary realistic art... HDJ's Realistic Art has appeared in every major bookstore chain and fantasy gaming shop in The United States and has been used in educational texts and magazines all over the world. This site features realistic paintings & pictures for the twenty-first Century including some oil paintings, as well as lots of other exciting media such as colored pencil drawings, pastel paintings, acrylic paintings, gouache paintings, watercolor paintings, and pencil drawings, and also featuring studio,  field, & aerial photography,  digital painting and photo-montage and all these media mixed in an assortment of experimental combinations...Working in a wide variety of media to create his realistic art he offers his customers a host of payment and product options. He delivers the rights to these custom made copyright free illustrations and old fashioned customer service when he does work-for-hire. He loves to paint custom oil paintings and accepts commissions with down payments starting at one thousand dollars. Other media, like colored pencil or digital are of course less expensive.

 On his existing works his license offers start at only 100 dollars.



Bonus Section:

Personal Opinion Essays on Realistic Art yesterday and today by the artist.


"The Oracle" (2009 version Mixed Media) above left and "The Lady of Shalott" (2010 Mixed Media) above right and center.


In addition to his mastery of traditional media, Howard David Johnson now combines drawing, painting, photography, and digital media with more than thirty years of experience in these fields to create his 21st century fairy paintings and pictures. Did you know the Greek word "Photography" means "Painting with Light"? Today with the advent of computers it truly lives up to it's name. Due to developments in Art and Technology, a broader definition of painting is needed than that which is found in common usage. Announcing Art Numérica -an exciting merger of traditional visual art and cutting edge technology... a new art form for the twenty- first century... Art Numérica is not limited to realistic or fairy art but also offers limitless horizons for everything from cartoons to abstractions. It is the most dramatic development in the visual arts since the Renaissance. As Al Jolson said in the world's first talking picture" You ain't seen nothin' yet!"


(A Brief essay dealing with attitudes toward Traditional Realistic Paintings, Pastels, Colored Pencils and Art Numérique )

        "Painting, in art, the action of laying colour on a surface, or the representation of objects by this means. Considered one of the fine arts"

~Encyclopaedia Britannica. 

  "Painting. noun. 1.) The act or employment of laying on colors or paints. 2.) The art of forming figures or objects in colors on canvas or any other surface, or the art of representing to the eye by means of figures and colors any object; the work of an illustrator or painter. 3.) A picture; a likeness or resemblance in shape or colors. 4.) Colors laid on. 5.) Delineation that raises a vivid image in the mind; as in word painting.

~ Webster's Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language

~Dierdre of the Sorrows copy.jpg (49196 bytes)

Pastel, Acrylics, and Colored Pencils combined

     Snobbism in the arts is nothing new. Some people will tell you that oils are the only valid medium for realistic paintings. That Colored Pencil, Digital, and other Realistic Painting and Drawing Media are not valid  for "real" art. Young artists, Don't let them bother you. Their forerunners used to condemn Pastels before they gained acceptance and called them "crayons" when Johann Alexander Thiele (1685-1752) invented them.  Mercilessly disrespectful  art critics of the time could not stop the Experimentalists no matter how viciously they attacked and derided them. "Crayon-painting" as it was called in England was practiced early on by persecuted pioneers in Switzerland and many other nations. What a debt we owe to these master artists who refused to knuckle under to the pressure of those short-sighted critics during those historic and experimental times. It took until 1870 with the founding of the "Societe` Des Pastellistes" in France that respect came  at last to these heroic & immortal visual artists.

        In England the liberation of the Pastellists from slight regard and undeserved disrespect came with the first exhibition of "The Pastel Society" at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1880. Pastel Painters like Mary Cassat and others from America and other nations forever silenced  the snobs with their masterworks and gained recognition at long last for Thiele's invention as a valid art medium. I am persuaded that history will repeat itself.  Like Pastels, I believe these wonderful new colored pencils and even Digital Realistic Art Media will one day receive the recognition they deserve as powerful mediums of artistic expression just as pastel paintings did. What is your definition of art? Have you thought about it?

Mine is: "anything that makes you feel or think."

     Consider dancing... it can be a little skip in the step or rise to the level of the incomparable Russian Ballet. Did you know that just the materials alone for a single oil painting cost up to a thousand dollars these days? Even paying the artist less than minimum wage no one but the super rich can afford them anymore. Something's got to give. Realistic paintings in oil have been highly prized for centuries and the appeal and following of realistic art is undiminished to this day. Oil paintings featuring Abstract Art and Realistic Art are generally the most treasured form of all the visual art media and with good reason. But snobbish art critics  favoring abstract art have declared  that realistic paintings, or illustrations are not art for a century. With so many representationalist  paintings by so many immortal master artists hanging in the Louvre, the Hermitage, and the British Museum and others I think the disrespect for realistic illustrators that dominated the 20th century is academically ridiculous as well as vain and intolerant, insisting theirs is the only valid opinion. What is your definition of Art? I believe almost any form of human expression can be raised to the level of "high art" especially  visual art and Realistic illustration...

~Dierdre of the Sorrows detail.jpg (59016 bytes)

The detail reveals Realistic art and abstract art combined

       By my own definition of art, which is:" anything that makes you feel or think" most abstract paintings are not "real art" to me personally, because abstract paintings usually neither make me feel or think,  usually focusing obsessively on technique and avoiding any coherent content. I usually draw a complete blank mentally and emotionally when I look at them. In 1979 the Houston Metropolitan Museum of Art displayed a triptych of 3 giant   paintings they paid fifty thousand dollars for-  three blank white canvasses entitled "untitled". Then there was "The incredible new artistic Genius" with an I.Q. of 62 ...Congo the chimpanzee with his gala New York art exhibition...an elaborate prank played on the Snobbish American Art critics about a generation ago by research scientists in the field of primatology. Imagine how upset they were when he created one of his "ingenious masterpieces" right before their eyes.

( My Source for this is the Time Life Science Library volume entitled "The Primates". )

      Art education has been almost completely removed from American Schools as a result of generations of this kind of  fabulous nonsense contributing to America's cultural illiteracy crisis. Now, the works of Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and other notables are being removed from school libraries.  After generations of this, most American college graduates today cannot name even one living visual artist, abstract or realistic.

There is no way that mandating more math, requiring more reading, or scheduling more science will replace what we have lost as a culture.    

What is your definition of Art?



Note: Abstract Paintings by Congo the Chimpanzee outsold Warhol and Renoir by over 25,000 dollars in June 2005 at a London art auction. Born in 1954, Congo created more than 400 drawings and paintings between the ages of two and four. He died in 1964 of tuberculosis. There is no precedent for this kind of sale.


Essay Two : The Rebirth of Realism

More thoughts on realistic art yesterday and today by the artist

Art History has entered a new era with the birth of Art Numérica, or digital art media in the 21st century. Artists never stop exploring with mediums. Artists have been developing techniques, experimenting with different tools since at least twenty- five thousand years ago, when the first artist picked up a charred stick and scratched a picture out on the wall of his cave. You'd think everything would have been tried by now, but it hasn't. Exploring new mediums this very day is just as exciting, just as full of freshness and newness as it ever was.

The creation of Realistic art has been the goal of most artists since the dawn of  civilization. Realistic art was the pride of ancient Greece. The world's greatest museums are full of realistic art. Realistic art WAS art until the advent of the abstract expressionist movement in the twentieth century. The coming of the camera in the nineteenth century changed realistic art forever. Suddenly, realistic art was not the only way to create realism in portraits and historical records. The work of the realistic artist was suddenly made into an expensive luxury. The political power of the realistic artist was broken and they were no longer an indispensable member of society. Hostility to the creators of realistic art goes back to ancient times and the jealousy of advisers to the Pharaohs and others who were not able to spend as much time with their rulers as their portraitists. Although with the aid of photographs, realistic art achieved levels of excellence undreamed of, the realistic art movement of the late nineteenth century was short.
     None of these people earning their living creating realistic art could compete with the speed and low cost of photographic portraiture.  Determined to survive, great realistic artists like Pablo Picasso ingeniously turned inward and began to explore things that could not be photographed in a new school of art, abstract expressionism. The day of the fine art superstars had arrived. It was now largely just a hobby to abstract and realistic artists alike. Illustration, because of advances in printing technology enabled an elite few to earn a living with their realistic art. These illustrators working in realistic art media  were condemned and ridiculed in much the same way Europe's great symphonic composers were condemned for working in motion pictures after fleeing the Nazis during World War Two. The rift between realistic and abstract art grew wider and wider. The universities and key media usually sided with the abstract camp and derided anyone working in any realistic art media declaring boldly that realistic art was not "real" art. Immortal giants of realistic art such as Maxfield Parrish were mistreated their entire lives. They were accused of selling out for creating beautiful pieces of realistic fine art to earn a living. The attitude that the true artist must suffer and starve and die in poverty became a rule. There were the Abstract art superstars, the professional realistic illustrators, and the hobbyists who, although cut off from gainful employment and social influence still recognized their artistic gifts as a calling rather than a profession.

           Early abstract art  masters proved themselves as realistic artists before delving into realms of the intangible. They had to do this at that time to prove themselves because of the challenges they faced from the establishment for going against the status quo. In the latter part of the 20th century, realistic artists like HDJ were challenged to do abstract art to prove themselves as shown in the example above (Deirdre of the sorrows). Later realistic art training was abandoned in most schools and things like splattering paint in fits of rage  were deemed more than enough. By the end of the 20th century something as destructive and ridiculous as nailing a pack of cigarettes to a shoe was considered fine art but not realistic paintings. Fashions in art have often been as silly as fashions in ladies hats.  As the century drew to a close, many people had had enough. The realistic revolt was at hand. The rebirth of realism was fueled by the advent of the digital era. Now, for the first time in almost two centuries, an artist or illustrator could earn a decent living again with his realistic art. This is historic. Realistic art is not going to go away, especially now that photography has truly merged with traditional realistic visual art. Photography comes from the Greek words meaning "painting with light". Now with the advent of digital media the capability of realistic art has become almost limitless, truly, "painting with light". The merger of all the world's art forms to realize the potential of motion pictures has come now to still realistic art media. This website for example, combines music, prose, poetry, photography and traditional realistic art media to create an experience beyond merely looking at realistic paintings.

         The twenty- first century is already seeing a new renaissance in the arts because of the world wide web. There has never been anything like it. Abstract art, computer art, photographic art, and realistic art are continuing to be separate schools of art but are also blending to create exciting new horizons. Although Digital art does offer completely new horizons to the artist in the 21st century it does not mean the end of our time honored art traditions. Instead, it offers additional ways to keep these traditions and schools of thought  fresh and alive. ~ HDJ


CLICK HERE for a Low Bandwidth Page with ALL Seven Essays by the Artist




All  these images & text are legally copyrighted & were registered with the U.S. Library of Congress Office of Copyright by the author, Howard David Johnson All rights reserved worldwide. Permission for many legal non-commercial uses is freely available by simply contacting the author or visiting www.howarddavidjohnson.com/permission.htm



Thank you for visiting the Classic and Contemporary Fairy Tales Art Gallery of Howard David Johnson...

This page is lovingly dedicated to the Immortal writers whose Fairy Stories who inspired me...

Music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky ( 1840- 1893) - Swan Lake.