On Art, Philosophy, and Art Philosophy

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HOWARD DAVID JOHNSON'S COMPLETE ESSAYS ON HISTORY, MYTH, & REALISTIC ART

Personal Opinion Essays on  HISTORY,   MYTH,  MORALITY,  &  ART yesterday and today by the artist.

( These essays are never meant to offend, but to spur thought and democratic debate in a spirit of fun. )

"Those who are enamored 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."

 

INDIVIDUAL LOW BANDWIDTH ESSAY PAGE TOPICS:

I }     Realistic Art Media and Attitudes: The more things change, the more they stay the same

II }    Realistic Art Tradition and Technology: The Rebirth of Realistic art in the 21st century

III }   History and Myth: How do we sort out History and Mythology?

IV }   Science and Religion: Has Science become a Religion?

V }    Sensuality, Violence, Morality, and their relationships with the Arts in 21st century American Society

VI }    Copyright Law and the Visual Arts in the Computer Age

VII }   On Art and Technology; When seeing is NOT believing

Click on the topic that interests you or stay here to read them all ...

a 21st century realistic artist.GIF (8255 bytes)

 

Howard David Johnson is a contemporary realistic visual artist and photographer with a background in
the natural sciences and history. He works in a wide variety of realistic art media ranging from traditional
oils,  pastels and others to cutting edge digital media. He loves mixing media. His web site features
many examples of his Realistic Art, including illustration, photography, experimentalism, and fine art

 

 

Art and Technology: From the Camera to the Computer

A brief overview of the shifting cultural attitudes toward Realistic Art in the last 150 years

~Essay #8 by Howard David Johnson

 

 

    The first decade of the 21st Century has seen a grass-roots counter-revolution in the art world which has overthrown the stranglehold elitist proponents of Abstract expressionism gained on academia, the media and the art world at large in the early 20th Century.

   Realistic Art was declared obsolete and irrelevant at the beginning of the 20th Century due to the easy chronicling of persons, places, and events by the Camera - in spite of this new technology empowering the greatest era in Realistic Art history. The “Modern Day Artist” refused to die and began to explore realms of the heart and mind the camera could not record. The proponents of Abstract Expressionism gained control of elite art collector’s markets followed by academic institutions and the media leading to the abandonment of centuries of classical teaching methods and traditions in our universities. Even the best realistic art was later denounced and ridiculed as the dismissive and often even hostile Art establishment created elitist scorn for Realistic Art in general. This created a disconnect with the general population who could not relate to the tenets of Abstract Expressionism. The advent of the internet broke the absolute domination of the opinions of the Abstract School on media and academia and opened the floodgates of artistic expression and free opinions. Free at last from institutionalized condemnation, more and more artists began to choose realistic treatments and a tidal wave of fabulous new realistic art has been created in every conceivable visual art media for museums, galleries, books, movies, and video games.

As the camera became commercially available in the early 19th Century it became clear that the visual artist was no longer an indispensable member of society. Just about anyone could point and shoot this device at persons, places, and things and get very fast and very realistic results. Resentment from thousands of years of artists’ social and political influence fueled the notion that visual artists should be declared obsolete. The adoption of the camera as an artist’s tool and the advent of an era of glorious and unprecedented realism in painting did not stop the movement to crush the political and social influence of the artist.

Great realistic artists like Pablo Picasso and others like Vincent Van Gogh courageously answered this challenge by exploring concepts that could not be photographed with brilliant and visionary works. It was from these honest and ingenious notions that the schools and sub-schools of Abstract Art developed. The freshness and innovation of this movement took the art world and academia by storm. The excitement of defining the tenets and the delight of bewildering the masses gave rise to an elite class of critics who could control the lucrative art collector’s market with obfuscation and intellectual snobbery.

This wealthy art collector’s market gave credence to Abstract Expressionism’s “high art” status and the advice of well placed critics became extremely valuable and they formed an alliance with like-minded academics. As time passed, this trendy movement whose concepts were so hard to argue with gained control of the establishment and elitism took root. It was not long before traditional painting methods were not taught in universities any more as realistic art was no longer considered “Real Art” and tenets like; “Art must be ugly”, Art must be new” Art must be obscure”, and “The best Art is offensive” took hold in schools and printed media.

Not satisfied with control over the most lucrative galleries, collector’s markets and academia, these elitists moved from dismissive to openly hostile attitudes toward those who still loved and created realistic art. The merciless and unprovoked rebukes of great realistic artists like Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth and so many others are well documented in 20th century histories. That’s not “Real Art” and why do you waste your talent on “Mere Illustration” were some of the nicer comments. Illustrators in the 20th century wore these rebukes like badges of honor, like black eyes gained from standing up to schoolyard bullies, knowing in their hearts what they were doing was worthwhile and the narrow minded views of their critics were not the only valid opinions. By the end of the 20th century, the long apprenticeship tradition was broken and classical realistic art methods were lost forever. The Shock Art movement in the 1990’s carried the tenets to new extremes as “ART” became a dirty word. U.S. Government Endowments for the Arts were discontinued. Abstract Art had become the norm with its obfuscated themes and was then itself considered irrelevant and academically worthless. Art programs were then removed from countless public school curriculums to make time for standardized test preparation. There is no way that mandating more math, requiring more reading, or scheduling more science will replace what we have lost as a culture.   

At the turn of the 21st Century the Abstract Expressionists had been in control for generations with a thought control blockade in books, newspapers, radio, television and schools. Anyone who disagreed with them was told they were too stupid to understand “Real Art” and theirs was the only voice to be heard. What had begun so beautifully and sincerely was hijacked and violated until it became a byword for vulgarity. Then came the internet and the realistic artists, long silenced began to express their views. It was like the boy who cried: “The Emperor has no clothes!” This revelation spread like wildfire through the cultural consciousness.  Suddenly, it was no longer a disgrace to hold something other than those narrow views. Galleries on the internet showcased generations of repressed artists realistic works in a tidal wave art history calls: “the Realistic Revolt”. Of course, Abstract Art still flourishes today especially on college campuses, but the narrow views of its most fanatical proponents are no longer cruelly dominant.

The Realistic Revolt has brought the return of respectability to illustration and realistic landscape and portraiture. When I see the works of today’s vast multitude of realistic artists coming from a thousand different directions at once, tears come to my eyes, for I have worn the title “illustrator” as a badge of honor for decades and am deeply moved to have lived to see new developments in art and technology drive the visual arts to levels of quality beyond my wildest dreams. I predict 3D and digital media will grow more and more realistic until photos seem noticeably inferior. The internet has not only opened the floodgates for artistic expression, but employment and untold artists are earning a living shattering the “Starving Artist” stereotype so engrained in our cultural consciousness. The beginning of the 20th century saw technology threatening the survival of the professional artist and the end of it saw the unbridled tenets of Abstract Expressionism like “Art must be offensive” threatening the very existence of art as a part of our culture, the modern day artist has once again refused to die and has embraced technology to create a rebirth of realism that Art critics, collectors, academics and everyday folk can all embrace and celebrate in ways I once feared had been lost to us forever.

~ Howard David Johnson (2012)

 

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"Painting, in art, the action of laying color 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

Essay One; On Realistic Art:

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME...

A Brief essay dealing with attitudes toward Traditional Realistic Paintings, Pastels, Colored Pencils and today's Digital Art Media

         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, combined with a general lack of public education, I contend that a broader definition of painting is needed than that which is found in common usage.

        In addition to his mastery of traditional realistic art 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 Realistic Art Numérique in 21st century paintings and pictures. Announcing Art Numérique -an exciting merger of traditional visual art and cutting edge technology... a new art form for the twenty- first century... Art Numérique is not limited to realistic 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. In the words of Al Jolson in the movie world's first talking picture" You ain't seen nothin' yet!"

 

       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...

       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 ...Coco 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, Michaelangelo, 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?

~HDJ

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But how do all these new Art media fit in with formal definitions of Art?

 

       Art ( noun ) [ Middle English, from Old French, from Latin ars (stem art-). ] 1. Human effort to imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work of nature. 2. The conscious production or arrangement of sounds, colors, forms, movements, or other elements in a manner that affects the sense of beauty; specifically, the production of the beautiful in a graphic or plastic medium. 3. The product of these activities; human works of beauty, collectively. 4. High quality of conception or execution, as found in works of beauty; aesthetic value. 5. Any field or category of art, such as painting, music, ballet, or literature. 6. A non-scientific branch of learning; one of the liberal arts. 7. a. A system of principles and methods employed in the performances of a set of activities: the art of building. b. A trade or craft that applies such a system of principles and methods: pursuing the baker's art. 8. A specific skill in adept performance, conceived as requiring the exercise of intuitive faculties that cannot be learned solely by study: the art of writing letters. 9. a. Usually plural.  Artful devices; stratagems; tricks. b. Artfulness; contrivance; cunning. 10. In printing: Illustrative material as distinguished from text.

~ The American Heritage College Dictionary of the English Language

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Special note: 21st century professional art critics are not repeating these mistakes of history and are blessing and encouraging artists working in all styles and mediums, even including digital media. To them I say: "Bravo! If only our world leaders could learn from the mistakes of the past as you have." ~hdj

 

Essay Two

Realistic Art : The Rebirth of Realism in the 21st Century

More thoughts on realistic art yesterday and today by the artist

    Art History has entered a new era with the birth of Art Numérique, 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.

~ Howard David Johnson

 

Essay III

More Personal Opinion Essays - on History, Myth, and Art by the artist.

HOW DO WE SORT OUT HISTORY AND MYTHOLOGY?

      "As a professional Illustrator I am called upon to illustrate Legends of History and Mythology, Fact and Fantasy, the Sacred and the Profane. In as much as I have endeavored to sort them out accordingly, it has become one of the more fascinating challenges I have ever faced."

A brief essay by H. D. Johnson

         

          As a professional Illustrator I am called upon to illustrate Legends of History and Mythology, Fact and Fantasy, the Sacred and the Profane. In as much as I have endeavored to sort them out accordingly, it has become one of the more fascinating challenges I have ever faced. As I am ever mentioning, the advances of science are constantly giving us a clearer view of the past even causing Mythology to become History as in the case of the Trojan Wars, the legendary Helen of Troy, and the Trojan Horse. The archaeological excavations of Troy may prove the existence of the city of Troy and the Trojan War. They in no way make The Iliad a history book however, because of the un-provable spiritual and religious occurrences in the narrative. This sorting out of myth and legend from history is no less difficult today because of their intertwining influences on one another.

         Consider as a more recent example of this problem, 20th century American President Theodore Roosevelt. He lives in history because of his heroic charge up San Juan hill with his legendary roughriders. When this story was printed in William Randolph Hearst's newspapers it catapulted him to fame and ushered him into the White House as a glorious American War Hero. Everyone has seen the paintings and statues of Teddy Roosevelt and his roughriders dressed in khaki, mounted on horseback and charging fearlessly forward waving their swords. In reality, it was a group of Heroic African American Buffalo Soldiers who took San Juan Hill in spite of their heavy casualties. They did not wear khaki. They were not mounted on horseback, but were foot soldiers in the same dark blue uniforms of the U.S. cavalry as worn during the Indian Wars. Roosevelt's group actually took a nearby Hill against light resistance but Hearst said that would not sell newspapers so he created an American Myth. So as we see, here is something taught to children in schools as history is just not true at all, but yet, this myth shaped the true history of the world in  the 20th century and beyond.

            If Teddy Roosevelt had not been elected president, neither would his nephew, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who provided very real and crucial leadership during the Great Depression and the Second World War. Neither would Theodore Roosevelt have built the Panama Canal or established the conservation of our natural resources. So here we see Modern Myth not only influencing, but creating History. In reality, I perceive Theodore Roosevelt was a much greater president than history gives him credit for. Although it is true his kindness created the "Teddy Bear", He really was also fit and trim, vigorous and active, and a very tough president in his foreign policies. He was instrumental in America's emergence as a world power. It is also true that he came from the upper upper class - old money in New York with a background of great wealth and limitless luxury and chose to be an outdoorsman, a cowboy, and soldier. When he was given office, he embraced the concept of being a good Shepherd , of seeking justice for all Americans - for this he was called a "traitor to his class".

         Actually, he is the savior of his class. In my estimation, it is President Theodore Roosevelt who is most responsible for the end of the then imminent threat of communist revolution or takeover in America. Throughout the early 20th century Socialist Revolutions were sweeping across the globe. Conditions for the workers in America were appalling. Child Labor, dangerous working conditions, ungodly long hours, degradation, and shockingly low pay. When Karl Marx wrote his "Communist Manifesto" he never dreamed of an affluent MIDDLE class. A middle class that is comfortable and savoring, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is not going to rise up in murderous anger and "Storm the Bastille". What Global Communism could not contend with was America's happy and prosperous middle class. Theodore Roosevelt practically invented America's affluent middle class and eliminated the threat of Communist revolution in America.  Although he was well loved, he was also hated and caught tremendous heat from the wealthy elite for sharing a small portion of their wealth with the common man. He saved them from a Second American Revolution by customizing capitalism to a kinder, gentler form than the horrors of the late 19th century. Like General Winfield Scott, who won The American Civil War before it started, he defeated his foes with an idea. If the Robber Barons had had their way, their greed could well have caused America to fall to communism. Today, we have a new generation of robber barons but no Teddy to stand up for the little guys. I feel the true history about American President Theodore Roosevelt is more amazing than the myth, but they are interwoven and inseparable, without the one, we would not have the other. He was both a glorious and a tragic figure. As a leader and as a man I believe he is badly underestimated. It was only when his beloved son, nicknamed "Quinnykins" died fighting in World War One that he finally saw through all the myths and glamour to see the awful truth about war face on. He never got over his guilt for glorifying war to his son. We could all learn a lot from his experiences.

          War costs money...trillions of dollars. War takes human lives...millions of them! War makes children old, breaks parent's hearts, kills morale. War destroys cities, art treasures, civilization! The first world war alone cost thirty million lives and 4 trillion dollars when adjusted to the buying power of modern U.S. dollars. With the money at the time we could have built a three bedroom two bath house furnished with fine hardwood furniture on five acres of quality land for every family in The United States, Canada, Australia, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Belgium, Germany and Russia. There would have been enough left to build and stock a first class library and a proper university in every town of 20,000 people or more. Out of the balance we could pay the salaries for life of 125,000 teachers and 125,000 nurses. The remaining balance could have bought 1919 Belgium and France and everything in them.

           I see History as an endless waltz. Three beats over and over. War, Peace, and Revolution. Three beats over and over in an endless cycle of death, destruction, and regeneration. An Endless Waltz... and those who do not learn the lessons of history are doomed to dance this deadly waltz and pay this Frightful price for War. As modern technology such as jet aircraft and thermonuclear missles make the world smaller & more dangerous everyday, tolerating each other's racial, social, & religious differences & living together in peace has now become key to the continued survival of mankind through the 21st century...

~H D Johnson

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Essay IV

H. D. Johnson worked as a scientific research consultant for the University of Texas at San Antonio through the 1970's under the guidance of top Texas Scientists illustrating reconstructions of Paleontology and Anthropology, oddly enough, he then worked under the guidance of the world's foremost Biblical Scholars for the Center for Judeo-Christian Studies. The two dramatically different experiences back to back caused him to wonder...

Has Science become a Religion?

a brief essay by the artist

 

     With respect to its great contributions to society, I think it is important to make a case that science is really affecting society more like a religion now than a field of study or a resource base of useful information. Many everyday people do not understand it at all and accept ALL its teachings on faith. Science is supposed to be a tool and a path of study for the benefit of mankind and it is. I love Science and greatly appreciate it's benefits. I feel strongly that many scientists are heroes and deserve honorable mention and some truly deserve places of great honor in the hallowed halls of history. Breakthroughs in medical science are saving lives everyday in ways undreamed of just to name only one of so many valuable fields. 

       Unfortunately some scientists have also been criminals or have brought things into the world we all know about that we would have been better off without such as thermonuclear weapons and pollution. I believe it has also become things it should never have become. I shall briefly try to explain what I have seen that has made me feel that science is really affecting society more like a religion now than a field of study.

 The major criticism of science with regards to The Bible has been that it requires a leap of faith to believe that GOD created the world, yet Science also has several leaps of faith of it's own. The Big Bang theory cannot be proven as world renowned cosmologist Steven Hawking has stated and, if it cannot be proven - believing in it - in Hawking's own words requires a "Leap of Faith"

Until a theory is proven in a lab or in the field, it is Philosophy, not Physics. 

           EVOLUTION IS NOT A LAW OF SCIENCE. Darwin's Theory of Evolution was proposed in 1859 and almost a hundred and fifty years later it has still never achieved the status of a Law of Science. This is because of the Missing Link. There is no proof of a link between man and ape, hence the term "The missing link". This blind faith in Evolution has been taught with religious dogmatism in the public schools for generations and is still merely a theory. The Theory of Evolution, not the Law of Evolution  is a mere UNPROVEN hypothesis, which the dictionary defines as "a mere assumption or guess or a proposition, or a group of proposals, offered as an explanation for the occurrence of some specified group of phenomena."

          Yet this "mere assumption or guess" is taught to children in public schools and young adults in colleges as if it HAD been proven beyond any doubt.  It was once a Law of Science that the atom was the irreducible particle of matter. At Alamogordo, New Mexico in 1945 the atom was split and the atomic bomb explosion in the desert blasted that Law of Science out of existence.

             Now, if a Law of Science is so unreliable, I ask you, why is a mere theory like Evolution regarded so highly? Simple. It is about political control, not about truth. 

The Missing Link

In 1912 A.D. a respectable geologist named Arthur S. Woodward and a lawyer named Charles Dawson offered their new “fossil discovery” to the London Geological Society. The “artifacts” included a thick portion of a human skull, a fragment of an ape-like jaw, some animal remains and some primitive stone tools. These items found in southern England in a place called Piltdown were estimated to be 500,000 years old.

For 40 years the remains were accepted by the academic community as an important part of our evolutionary development. Piltdown Man was declared genuine and called the “missing link” between apes and man by important scientists of the time. Because of this newfound “proof” men of God were openly ridiculed as ignorant and improperly educated. Piltdown man was debunked four decades later by chemical tests proving the jaw and skull were not the same age, nor very old. It was a DELIBERATE fake. The bones had been chemically treated and thoroughly stained to make them appear prehistoric. Recognizable anatomical features were broken off and filed down.

Why did this fraud by lawyer Charles Dawson fool the experts? For many reasons, but it was never seriously questioned because the scientists of the time were delighted by the way it validated their evolutionist beliefs. For more details of the debunking read: ”The Piltdown Forgery” by J.S. Weiner, the classic account of the most famous and successful hoax in science. The new and revised 2002 edition is commonly available. Today, the term “Piltdown” is a term of ridicule, used to label fraudulent research, but the impact on the lives of billions of trusting people has had powerful political implications to this day.

The prover proves what the thinker thinks and prejudice and political power seem more important than the truth or the consistent practice of the scientific method. If truth were important to them, they would use the scientific method when criticizing The Bible but they do not. The scientific method requires going to the source. Yet for these famous disparagements they use the King James version instead of the original Hebrew. Translated in 1611 by non-Christian King James of England for political reasons the K.J.V. is one of the Colossal monuments of English Prose. The King James Translation is not at all accurate enough to use as the sole source for the defense of the Biblical Text. 

         Consider this example: One of the greatest conflicts between Science and the Bible is the teaching that the world was created in six solar days of 24 hours each. The word " yom" in the source, the original Hebrew text, which was translated as "Solar Day" had 56 other choices. Modern English has more than 60,000 words. Biblical Hebrew had 3,000. The average English vocabulary has 6,000. My favorite choice of the 56 other options:" an unimaginably long but complete period of time" harmonizes with science perfectly. Another choice is: "time itself". So as we can see, going to the source and using the Scientific Method brings very different results than not going to the source.

           Getting past this, the order in which life appeared was identical to the theory of evolution's claims in the Book of Genesis, leaving us to discuss the stars, the next main source of conflict between Science and the Bible. The Hebrew text says "a swaddling band around the Earth dissolved, revealing the stars. The Prover proves what the thinker thinks. Here's a fun thought - What if GOD is in control of evolution? What if it's his hobby? What if there is really no conflict between Science and Religion? The scientists cannot disprove the existence of GOD any more than they can prove the Big Bang happened. 

   Albert Einstein saw no conflict between science and religion. Like Galileo, Newton and other immortal greats of science before him, Einstein believed in GOD.

        Therefore, I present to you this idea: Modern Scientific beliefs are based upon a leap of faith in the big bang theory. It has become a belief system based on faith and therefore another form of religion. Scientists, like priests can explain their beliefs but the everyday people accept it all on faith. Scientists and doctors are the priests of this new religion, getting angry and crying "heresy" when anyone respectfully disagrees with them. I once had one of my supervisors in the UT anthropology department explain to me for three hours on a research expedition in mathematical terms how something could have ALWAYS existed, needing no beginning point. When we agreed that the math was good he then made a COLOSSAL leap of faith, saying "This proves the Universe has always existed and there is no GOD." In one second I countered;" I could just as easily jump to the conclusion that this proves the existence of an eternal GOD." It is this "jumping to conclusions" or  as Steven Hawking put it; "making leaps of faith." that infuses philosophy with their physics. Then there is the infusion of politics; a perfect example is 

The Myth of Carbon 14 dating: 

Educated people know that carbon 14 dating is totally irrelevant to the theory of evolution. Scientists never state that carbon 14 dating offers proof for the theory of evolution. Ignorant evolutionists, however, believe carbon 14 dating proves the theory of evolution, and stubbornly make that claim based on faith in what they were told in our learning institutions. They were DELIBERATELY lied to to gain POLITICAL POWER. I will explain; Carbon 14 dating is ONLY reliable for five thousand years as even its creator himself admitted in 1972. Carbon 14 or Radiocarbon Dating was first devised in 1949 by Dr. Willard Libby. It is based on the rate of decay of carbon 14 or its "half-life" of 5730 years. This method offers reliable dates up to 5,000 years ago, but its results require correction since Dr. Libby's belief that the levels of carbon-14 in the atmosphere were identical through the ages has long since been disproved. Volcanoes and floods for example skew the results to the point where guesswork or leaps of faith are required even in dating organic material from historic times. Dr. Libby once expressed his shock when he found that radio carbon dates for human artifacts extended back only 5000 years and older dates were found to be unreliable. [W.F.Libby, `Radiocarbon Dating', (Chicago, 1952), pp. 4-9]  [CRSQ, 1972, 9:3, p. 157] By this time tens of thousands of C-14 dates had been published from tests in laboratories around the world. The textbooks and curriculums have yet to be revised. Instead, a MYTH is being taught in our schools.  There are exciting new methods but wild guesses about the amount of Carbon 14 in the atmosphere do not PROVE anything. Believers in GOD are called foolish and ignorant on the political strength of this deliberate lie that Carbon 14 dating proves evolution.

       The gross disrespect and intolerance I have seen of certain members of the scientific and academic communities and their disciples toward anyone who disagrees with them is just as arrogant and abusive as racial, sexual, religious, or any other kind of prejudice. 

Here's a great example: Around 1910 in educated circles it was considered a mark of ignorance to believe the Biblical record. There was little scientific evidence available then to support the Bible's claims and academic circles decided that was the end of the matter and as the decades moved on, the scientific and academic communities stubbornly ignored tidal waves of new SCIENTIFIC evidence. One excellent example is in what the Bible says about Abraham.  In the early 20th century experts in the field of archaeology insisted that no civilization even existed in UR of the Chaldeans when the Bible records that Abraham lived there. On the basis that no evidence was currently available they declared Abraham a mythical character. 

        20th century evidence however has proven beyond any question the existence of an advanced civilization in UR of the Chaldeans during the 21st and 20th centuries B.C.-That was Abraham's day! Abraham's historicity is also confirmed by ancient inscriptions that bear the names of almost very town mentioned in Ch. 12-14 of Genesis and one even has his father's name. Archeological discoveries also show these towns were in existence until about 2,000 B.C.- but not later! 

No longer can the Bible's critics get away with accusing us of being naive or foolish today when we believe what the Bible says about Abraham like they used to in the 20th century. 

This is critical to the belief systems of the world's great monotheistic religions Islam, Judaism and Christianity who all claim ascendancy from Abraham. Why isn't this commonly taught in schools? Many scientific professionals openly abuse the authority of their positions to push their personal beliefs and ignore the confirmed scientific data to hold on to political power. Other Biblical confirmations from modern Archaeology include: Date and manner of Jericho's fall, The exodus from Egypt, Major characters from the book of Daniel and many others. The SCIENTIFIC proof is all there waiting for you if you take the time to look it up. 

          Certain scientists and academics like to act like they know everything about the origins of the Earth. They don't. Many of our long taught ideas about planetary science have recently been proven completely wrong. Did you know that The Gas Giants on the outside of our solar system and the surface of the Planet Venus are DRASTICALLY different than what I was authoritatively taught about them as a boy in school?  If they can't even tell us reliably how the solar system is today how can we rely on their ideas about its distant unobservable origins? Yet even in the face of constantly changing SCIENTIFIC evidence most scientists are prone to UTTER DOGMATISM about their belief system. Science is supposed to be the sum of the best knowledge we have at the time - incomplete but always learning, always growing- but sometimes making serious mistakes. Why admit things were COMPLETELY wrong about planetary science within the solar system but NEVER MENTION the discovery of the unreliability of Carbon 14 dating or the discovery of archaeological evidence of Abraham being a historical figure? Simple. There is no danger to the foundation of the belief system of this new religion or it's social and political power base. 

         Mankind's only hope for continued survival on this planet is to learn to tolerate each others differences and live in peace with one another and in harmony with the environment. We're all in the same boat...

   I do not believe that scientists should be exempt from this challenge to be tolerant, since they created the very things that could well destroy us, such as thermonuclear weapons & pollution.

We all have a lot of work to do if we are to survive. I write this in defense of my faith and of the faiths of others which have been disparaged by these attacks on the sacred writings of the  world's great religions...If we're going to have a better world we're going to need both better leaders and better citizens.

 I personally believe that any belief in a higher power that must be answered to makes us better citizens than if we believed that we are the ultimate life form in the Universe.

~ H D Johnson

 

Essay V

Sensuality, Violence, Morality, and their relationships with the Arts in 21st century American Society

A case for the sacredness, purity, and beauty of the human form

A brief personal opinion essay by the artist

 

   

     In our 21st century western society the disparity between the moral attitudes toward images and actions is amazing to me and I will examine in this article just how unfair they really have become and how "political correctness" is destroying our cultural heritage. 

      In history, the Classical or Greco-Roman school of art is distinguished by the notion that the human form is the ultimate arena for artistic expression. Unclothed figures were very common in Classical art and their culture was very comfortable with it in general. The Victorians in contrast have always stood out in my mind for their extreme prudishness and puritanicalism. They invented the tablecloth to prevent men from looking at a table's legs because they feared a table leg might make men think "dirty thoughts". In spite of this, 19th century Victorian Art did allow some unclothed figures in statues and paintings within certain bounds. One of the principal attractions of fairy paintings for the Mid-Victorians was that they made possible highly realistic and erotic pictures of unclad females that would have otherwise been inadmissible. In the 20th century the sensual revolution eliminated all of these traditional boundaries. I can see how the radical transformation of society by the total liberation of the subconscious was a bit too much for most people. In 21st century America however, the sight of a healthy partially unclad woman is taboo even as an innocent or religious depiction in the visual arts. 

A moral pendulum swinging too far again?

   I find this very interesting considering they way American society is so comfortable with violence- even children viewing extreme violence and gore on television and in motion pictures. It's terrible- disembowelments, exploding heads with splattering blood and guts, cut off arms and legs are deemed just fine for prime time children's viewing. But not to worry- the profanity has been edited out. It seems too arbitrary to me. If the human body is torn apart or cut to pieces it is all right. Desecration of the human body is embraced or tolerated while appreciation or adoration even in art, is condemned. I think the human form is sacred.

The average American child sees 20,000 violent deaths on television alone by the age of 10.

      I find it interesting that America feels that while tolerating and even embracing extreme violence and greed that we are outraged at the sight of a beautiful young woman and the healthy uncovered female human body is a dirty, filthy thing to be ashamed of. I disagree.

    Since the source for this stigma about images of women is supposed to be the influence on our society's laws by the sacred writings of the Judeo-Christians, I present to you the idea that this is not what these actually teach and they are also being treated as arbitrarily as a buffet line and will use illustrations. This attitude comes from Jesus' saying: "If a man even look at a woman to lust after her, he has already committed adultery in his heart." By this same standard, just thinking about robbing the poor and the elderly is a sin, but in our society the act is considered "a good business move". Don't misunderstand me, he taught that his commandment was to love one another, and basically that if you did that the ceremonial law was fulfilled. A more positive approach; if you love someone you won't murder them, falsely accuse them, etc., etc., If your heart is full of covetousness for a woman, a car or anything it is likely you will transgress this law in practice. Cheating, stealing, torture, and even murder in actual practice are taken in stride by our society, but seeing a woman's left bosom exposed is an outrage. If the Ten Commandments are the standard we're going by as they say-

What about the other nine?

        Children are diligently taught to dishonor their parents on every "family" television show. It is taboo now- yes, it is actually considered wrong to portray a good father in American movies and television with only the rarest of exceptions. What is so terribly wrong about a portrayal of a good dad? To me, this is an outrage. Stealing the retirements of thousands of citizens who have worked hard all their lives is "a good business move". 

What about "thou shalt not murder"? (Interestingly, it doesn't say” kill"{ harag } in the original Hebrew text, { Exodus 20:13 } but "murder"{ ratsach }. ) I won't dwell on war here, but In Nazi Germany, six million people- Jews, Christians, and politicals were secretly murdered in the death camps, but in modern America, more than forty million baby boys and girls have been publicly murdered by willing citizens in abortion clinics and we call that a “choice". If history called that the Holocaust, how will history judge us?  Judeo-Christian morality, and that's what we're talking about here as the most influential source of America's laws, ONLY justifies killing in self-defense. The child in the womb is defenseless. 

Again, I find this astonishing that we as a society can tolerate or even embrace such horrific and gruesome acts and then make such a big issue out of mild nudity in a painting or statue. Our society treats sacred writings like a buffet line choosing what is politically expedient to their cause and ignoring the rest. 

I ONLY bring these up as an examples of the disparity between society's acceptance or tolerance of these violent and gruesome things I've mentioned to contrast them to the intolerance of the sight of a peaceful woman’s uncovered bosom celebrated for it's natural beauty in an innocent setting through the visual arts. 

Why is the sight of a naked man's chest considered to be decent and not a woman's? I think there is a disparity here too in our attitude toward images. If the sight of a woman's chest is an outrage why is a man's permissible in ANY situation? I am told certain works of Leonardo Da Vinci are pornographic now because of a nipple but I see romance novel covers in the grocery store with photos of naked men climbing in bedroom windows to commit adultery-why are those considered acceptable? If images are wrong because there is a chance a man might think of sex, why are "romance" novels written glorifying vile acts of sexual betrayal for NO OTHER REASON but dirty thoughts acceptable? Why are sleazy soap operas on television available to children day and night on broadcast television with sexually explicit scenes glorifying adultery acceptable? The answer is simple- its double standard. 

        As a man, I believe that women are the brightest and loveliest of all of GOD's creations. The sight of a healthy young partially uncovered girl on television even for a split second is considered a CRISIS and we hear public outrage? Implying the human body itself is filthy; Think about it. Since the basis of this sight of a healthy human body taboo is supposed to be of Judeo-Christian religious origin, I want to debunk this outrageous doctrine that the human body is filthy. In the Bible's first book, Genesis, it says, "they were naked and were not ashamed" and it teaches us that men and women were "made in the image of GOD". To follow this line of reasoning, GOD would also have to be filthy. Case closed. I don't think what I perceive to be the crowning achievement of GOD's creation, the woman - is filthy, but is instead pure and beautiful.

What I believe to be GOD's greatest creation is considered filthy, and not people's minds?

What's wrong with this picture?

These outrageous boundaries chosen by our society are so poorly thought out that Michelangelo's statue of David is now deemed pornography and books with such immortal works of art are being removed from our public school libraries because of "politically correct" activists. I'm not suggesting that we remove these boundaries again like in the 1970's, Heaven forbid! Only that these newest ones are ill conceived and badly placed and I would personally prefer to return to the traditional ones and avoid all these extremes.

~ HD Johnson

*****

Essay VI

Copyright Law and the Visual Arts in the Computer Age

An introduction to the Millennial Copyright Act for Artists

A brief essay on 21st century legal boundaries, guidelines, and western art traditions by the artist

"Our shared cultural heritage, great works of art, literature, music and drama, cinema, folk tales and fairy tales are all drawn upon again and again by the creators of new works. These works in the public domain are both a catalyst and a wellspring for creativity and innovation.  Since the public domain is a treasure trove of information and resources to be used by future generations, many advocates are concerned that its stagnation through lawsuits will make it more and more difficult for future generations to find creative inspiration."

 

  

"All art is ultimately some form of imitation, even if you are an expressionist painter imitating an abstract vision in your own mind. These new visual art creations of mine take their inspiration in part from the realistic paintings of the old masters just as The Lord of the Rings comes from The Ring of the Nibelung and European folklore and West Side Story came from Romeo and Juliet, which was in turn inspired by Antony and Cleopatra. Much as Rubens copied Titian, I copy Waterhouse and so on. Over the last 300 years, ideas about female beauty have drastically changed and this has caused many of the most wonderful paintings of the old masters to seem 'ugly' to youthful modern audiences. For example, in the days of Peter Paul Rubens, being forty to sixty pounds over-weight was considered not only attractive, but was a status symbol. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and tastes have clearly changed. I feel many classic themes need to be redone to preserve interest and appeal for future generations. This has happened many times before as artists like Aesop, The Brothers Grimm and Walt Disney have appropriated, modified, and re-defined elements of our culture to preserve it for future generations. The legality of such use today depends on whether or not the source is protected by copyright law. You can draw or paint Shakespeare's fairies for example and publish them without permission but not more modern intellectual properties like characters from Star Wars or Mickey Mouse who holds the oldest copyright dating from 1928.

Our shared cultural heritage, great works of art, literature, music and drama, cinema, folk tales and fairy tales are all drawn upon again and again by the creators of new works. These works in the public domain are both a catalyst and a wellspring for creativity and innovation. Even though all my Realistic Paintings are legally new works and protected under copyright law their inspiration sometimes comes in part from works in the public domain.

The public domain is a space where intellectual property protection ( copyright ) does not apply. When copyrights and patents expire, innovations and creative works fall into the public domain. They may then be used by anyone without permission and without the payment of a licensing fee. My sources have been transformed so much in the creation of these new works of art that they would not violate an existing copyright even if they were so protected. Publicly owned national parks are also considered by many to be public domain lands. Because of the recent extensions of the terms of both copyrights and patents, and the privatization of lands and other resources owned by the Federal Government, little is now entering the public domain. Look for new litigation and another time extension when Disney Corporation's Mickey Mouse copyright is due to expire in 2023. Where would Walt Disney be without the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson, or Victor Hugo? Where would Aaron Copeland have been without American folk music? Thomas Nast's Santa Claus without traditional images of Father Christmas? Picasso without African art? These are artists who made names for themselves and even fortunes through Public Domain appropriation, one and all.

     Some people are actually outraged that there are some intellectual properties that corporations do not own. They feel appropriation is only appropriate if a corporation does it. Corporations created by public domain appropriation, now are the most powerful force on Earth trying to put a stop to new things entering the public domain forever through lawsuits. The public domain is a space where intellectual property protection ( copyright ) does not apply. It was set up by our founding fathers, who felt creativity needed to be rewarded on a personal level for a time, and when copyrights and patents expired, innovations and creative works would fall into the public domain.

      Since the public domain is a treasure trove of information and resources to be used by future generations, many advocates are concerned that its stagnation will make it more and more difficult for future generations to find creative inspiration. This is least likely to hurt the motion picture companies who produce new works "in house" granting themselves permission, but the music industry which brings in artists and new songs from the outside is being hit very hard already. If a new song release resembles an old one, now there is litigation. Visual Art Tradition and etiquette suggest the most influential pieced borrowed from the public domain should be mentioned at exhibits; these original new pieces Shown in my exhibits take their inspiration in part from the paintings of Waterhouse, Alma-Tadema, Moreau, Bouguereau, Leighton, Ingres, Moore, Parrish, Rackham and others. They showcase some of my favorite models. As a student of fine art, copying is a great way to learn and create fine art, but as a professional illustrator things are very different. Works done by artists out of personal motivation belong to the artist who created them, and they can sell licenses for divers forms of publication. The law is clear and simple regarding illustrations done for gainful employment. They are called "work-for-hire" under the law, and the rights to such works envisioned by the customer and specifically commissioned and paid for belong exclusively to the customer if it is a team project like a video game or motion picture and the artist must specifically ask permission to ever legally use their own work themselves. When the artist is the sole creator of the project as in book and magazine illustration for example, the artist retains the benefits of ownership unless they specifically sign them away. 

My art is divided into two distinct groups; personal work partially copying the old masters and professional illustration applying these lessons to create totally original works. I start more often with a specific written request. This is the exact OPPOSITE approach to creating a picture from copying something that's there.

Research comes first. In the case of my illustration of the Spartan Warriors, there were no accurate sources in the public domain to copy correct Greek armor and weapons in combat poses from.  Mostly I found images of effeminate men, wearing nothing but a robe over the shoulder and the wrong helmets. Finding history books at the library with the accurate helmets, shield designs, weapons, and armor was essential to get an accurate depiction of a Greek Hoplite.  All the library had were stiff museum poses of anything, but I hit the research jackpot with some very simplistic flat line drawings of great authentic Greek shield designs.

All the elements must be found, gathered and assembled to create the dramatic action scene the client wanted. Next comes the layout. This is where the mathematics and geometric design come into the creative process. My wife, Virginia took a picture of me nearly twenty years ago on a carpentry project with the heroic Jack Kirby like pose I was looking for mixed with the texture and feel of a Frank Frazetta or Norman Rockwell painting. Naturally, in these cases I go to great lengths to make sure that my work looks nothing whatsoever like it's various inspirations and sources except in flavor and spirit. Of course, the characteristic old master's painting feel to the background most of my illustrations have was requested, and the picture was to have the flavor of a Howard Pyle painting.

With regards to use of mechanical aids to create art: Did you know the old masters often traced?  Leonardo Da Vinci used "Camera Obscura" which is a lens and a mirror set at an angle with parchment over it to trace onto. Michelangelo used a similar technique. The use of Photography as a mechanical aid to oil paintings and other forms of realistic art came right away. This is not surprising since artists had been tracing from Camera Obscura for thousands of years. Famous Myths; Leonardo Da Vinci (1452- 1519 ) is often credited with the invention of Camera Obscura because he used it for his masterworks during the Renaissance and mentioned it in his notebooks, but this is simply not true. Similarly, Americans are credited with the camera, but it is also not true. Unlike the camera, the inventor and time of invention of Camera Obscura are unknown. Perhaps a crude form of it was known to the ancient Greeks, but there is no evidence for this. The mathematical precision and perfect anatomy of Greek art combined with their passionate love of science and mathematics is enough for many scholars. The earliest description of Camera Obscura occurs in the great optical treatise of the Islamic scientist Al-Hazen who died at Cairo, Egypt in A.D. 1098. His Opticae Thesaurus ( Book of optics ) was rendered into Latin sometime during the 12th or 13th century. Al- Hazen honestly declares that he himself did not discover it, so we know it had to have come earlier. Think that makes it too quick and easy? You'll find once you've finally got that outline done right you're a long, long, way from being finished in any medium... if these men who set the standard for realistic excellence used them, why shouldn't those who come after them be permitted? Simple, because this is one of the most carefully guarded "secrets of the old masters" and most people don't know very much about art history... 

When asked why I usually work from photos I like to re-tell Norman Rockwell's story about having to paint a chicken: He set it up on a stump in a barn and goes to painting. The chicken moves it's head. He moves it back. The chicken jumps down. He puts it back. He goes to paint. now the chicken decides to make a break for it... he chases it down clucking and screaming and puts it back. Now it knows he's going to have it for dinner and it goes completely berserk. The next day, he came in and set the chicken back, snapped it's picture,

and the photo held nice and still."

     I have built up an enormous library of original 35 mm source photos for use in my realistic art. For decades I have been seeking out the most beautiful models and sometimes even their boyfriends and relatives, bringing them in for sessions into my photography studio. The law with regards to copy rights on analog photographs was simple - if you owned the negative you owned the rights. This new instant copyright without filing law is very nice for photographers and artists working with their own photos, but not so good for free-hand drawings from the imagination and other non-photographic based forms of drawing and painting like cartoons.

  This is the main reason I use my own photographs.

   Using a strategy employed by J. W. Waterhouse, my wistful and graceful female models cannot be underestimated in their contribution to the stunning beauty and the potential for lasting appeal of my work. I am always make sure to both overpay them for their time and also the rights. I always get a written contract with the exception of my dearest friends and closest family who are always making cameo appearances. The models get amenities and services including portraits, portfolio photo sessions, photographic reprints and enlargements, leather presentation cases, webmaster services, original art, and reprints of their appearances in my drawings and paintings as well as above scale cash payments at the time of the shoot.

   With regards to using copyrighted material as a reference-  When you have to paint a wombat you can't fake it- you need a picture! The law understands this and automatically grants provision - within reasonable limits; when using copyrighted sources the source image must be so transformed in overall appearance in the translation as not to be what the law calls "confusingly similar"...

   If it's newer than 1928 you can bet it's probably copyrighted - they had to renew exactly 26 years later in those days or it would pass into the public domain, so it might not be copyrighted if it wasn't a big moneymaker. Always be sure to check in these cases. If it's newer than 1999 under the millennial copyright act the law says it is automatically copyrighted without even filing. However, this new law is very tricky in it's wording because you must have already have filed with the copyright office in advance if you ever need to take legal action. They say it is copyrighted, but you cannot sue if it is not registered with the United States Library of Congress Office of Copyright. Because of this "instant copyright without filing" clause, there is a serious danger of artists being made legally helpless and left open to being cheated out of their work.

 From an artist's standpoint, this is a huge improvement over the original 14 year copyright term. When properly interpreted and acted upon, by filing works with the United States Library of Congress Office of Copyright, these laws are GREAT for contemporary artists and their estates, who will hold rights for seventy years after the artist's death."

~ Howard David Johnson

*****

The Constitutional Provision Respecting Copyright

The Congress shall have power... To promote the progress of Science and the useful arts, by securing for limited times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

United States Constitution Article I Section 8

( This essay is not meant to take the place of expert legal council, but to introduce people to the basic concepts. )

 

Essay VII

On Art and Technology: When Seeing is Not Believing

An essay dealing with mechanical aids to visual art from Camera Obscura to Computers

 

 

  When the camera was finally made commercially available in the 1830's it exploded on the world scene and sent shockwaves through the art world as history had never seen before. Visual artists all over the world were suddenly put out of work and resentment and outrage followed. Suddenly much more realistic portraits could be had at a tiny fraction of the cost of a painting and delivered almost instantly. The art world would never be the same. When motion picture cameras were new, seeing was believing and human consciousness changed forever in the 20th century. Sometimes even Terror and Panic came from the initial shock! In 1905 cinema patrons defecated and urinated in their seats as they broke each other's arms and legs desperately fleeing for their lives from a crowded theater to escape a train charging straight for them! ... train footage filmed safely from a bridge with a camera lowered down on a rope. A modern cinema patron would not even feel uncomfortable. The Photograph and its manipulations have changed human consciousness and history... and will continue to do so in the future.

The Camera has changed everything.

    The Camera of Today owes it's origin to the Camera Obscura, a light- tight box with a lens and a screen that receives an image. This device has been used by artists since ancient times to trace the projected image of whatever they set before it on a screen. Intrigued by the idea of producing a permanent light-formed image instead of reproducing it by hand, a long line of inventors studied the problem and successively made contributions to the solution.

    Photography was neither discovered nor invented by any one man. It was the outcome of the early observations of the alchemists and chemists on the action of light, a subject that belongs strictly to the domain of photochemistry. Although the blackening of silver salts was known in 1565, it was not until 1727, when Johann Heinrich Shulze of Germany used a mixture of silver nitrate and chalk under stenciled letters, that it was definitely recognized that this darkening action was caused by light and not by heat. In the years that followed experiments with silver nitrate on leather and wood were successful. In 1817 J. Nicephore Niepce first tried photography with silver nitrate and paper. In 1826, L.J.M. Daguerre, a painter who had experimented with silver salts approached him and formed a partnership.

    Daguerre discovered accidentally that that the effect produced by exposing an iodized silver plate in a camera would result in an image if the plate were fumed with mercury vapor. The Daguerreotype process was a complete success. These chemical processes would be improved again and again until the advent of the digital camera we know today.  The attitude that Photography was not art and was a purely mechanical process requiring no talent whatsoever was put forth with great force and hostility in an attempt to get people to refrain from choosing it for their portraits instead of paintings. This is a typical reaction to new technology, when Pastels were first invented they were dismissed as a child’s plaything rather than a viable art medium. These attacks on new technology are not limited to the arts of course. When the Wright brothers were making history at Kitty hawk with the first manned airplane their detractors said: "If man were meant to fly, he'd have been born with wings." This kind of negativity is just human nature to some kinds of people.

Photography came into being through an artistic, not a scientific urge. Daguerre was an artist, a scene painter whose illusionistic diorama was a landmark in Paris long before his name was connected with photography. Critics were merciless as usual, with scathing condemnations of the media. However, in the hands of a sensitive artist, photography quickly showed it's artistic possibilities. David Octavious Hill, a Scottish Painter invented the camera set up and the pose as we know them today in the 1840's and was the first of a new breed of master photographic artists. Photography was here to stay. Diverse forms of retouching techniques followed both by accident and by design and took the medium to new levels of artistic excellence. Now, more than a century and a half later only an uneducated or blindly hateful person would say Photography is not an art form. Of course we've all seen our share of awful pictures with the heads cut off taken by amateur photographers but we've also seen the work of studio masters like the great portrait photographers from Hollywood in the 1930's and forties. Anyone who has tried to create such a sophisticated studio photograph realizes quickly that this is a very difficult art form to master even if a trained orangutan can take a bad snapshot with an instant camera made for children.

The use of Photography as a mechanical aid to traditional oil paintings and other forms of realistic art came right away. This is not surprising since artists had been tracing from Camera Obscura for thousands of years. Famous Myths; Leonardo Da Vinci ( 1452-1519 ) is often credited with the invention of Camera Obscura because he used it for his masterworks during the Renaissance and mentioned it in his notebooks, but this is simply not true. Similarly, Americans are credited with the camera, but it is also not true. Origins: Unlike the camera, the inventor and time of invention of Camera Obscura are unknown. Perhaps a crude form of it was known to the ancient Greeks, but there is no material evidence to substantiate such a point of view. The mathematical precision and perfect anatomy of Greek art combined with their passionate love of science and mathematics is testimony enough for many scholars. The earliest clear description of Camera Obscura occurs in the great optical treatise of the Islamic scientist Al-Hazen who died at Cairo, Egypt in A.D. 1098. His Opticae Thesaurus ( Book of optics ) was rendered into Latin sometime during the 12th or 13th century by an unknown translator. Al- Hazen honestly declares that he himself did not discover it, so we know from this it had to have been masterminded before A.D. 1098.

  Camera obscura is a device for tracing or sketching large objects. It consists of a box painted black inside- a mirror at a 45 degree angle , and a lens, like that used in a photographic camera. An image is thrown on the mirror by the lens and reflected on the screen, where it can be sketched with tracing paper. The Camera Obscura was in general use by newspaper and magazine illustrators until it was replaced by the photographic camera. Make no mistake. Professionals have been using mechanical aids since the first caveman shaman traced his hand out on the wall of his cave. The view finder on the reflex camera is a development from Camera Obscura. Camera obscura, interestingly enough, is Latin for "darkened chamber".

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   In the early 1600's the telescope came into use and Camera Obscura spared viewers the harmful effects of gazing directly into the sun. I regret, but that we must acknowledge the fact that almost every art medium throughout the ages has been corrupted. In the 2nd century, the Roman emperor Hadrian had the head of his lunatic predecessor Nero removed from a statue and replaced by that of his favorite. Much later in 1539, Holbein painted a glamorous and flattering portrait of Anne of Cleves for Henry VIII. When the future queen arrived in England, King Henry met the surprisingly less than dazzling and glamorous Anne. His disappointment made history. Our modern society certainly can't claim t he honor nor take the blame of being the first to manipulate art forms.

     By the 21st century instead of the traditional assistants and apprentices, artists employed overhead transparency projectors, opaque projectors, artographs, light tables, slide projectors, color photocopying... and suddenly, computers and image editing software, which brings us to some very compelling controversies regarding these modern imaging technologies and their impact on various media and further changes to human consciousness. For example: The integrity of Photography as evidence in our courts of law stood for many decades until it was shattered by the digital manipulation of photographs and new standards needed to be introduced.  Websites sold peeks at photos of celebrities' heads pasted onto photos of wild women in scandalous poses for all the world to see- but advertised as real celebrity pix. Scandal rocked television and other news media when digitally altered photographs were being passed off as reliable evidence of important news stories...

      On a positive note, no one was threatened by how this technology enabled motion pictures to do epic things they could only dream of before. They were supposed to be make-believe images appearing real! A golden era in special effects cinema ensued. Then, this powerful digital imaging technology, like the camera, fell into the hands of the common man through computer programs like Adobe Photoshop. A new culture of skepticism had abandoned the age old adage; "seeing is believing" Photography has never told the whole truth, just parts of it. Photography is also an art form and therefore rightfully susceptible to creative alterations. In addition, the advancement of digital manipulation technology cannot be undone or halted. I believe that we must recognize that this digital technology exists on a gigantic-scale, and will never go away. Therefore, I suggest that digitally altered photos are distinct from traditional photography, and should be treated as such.

Contrasting views: anti-manipulation advocates’ fear a negative impact of digital manipulation in a court of law, and pro-manipulation advocates say that we must wake up to the fact that for for decades pictures have not been reliable evidence in court and that any good lawyer will attempt to discredit photographic evidence. In response to claims that photos should always tell the truth, the pro-manipulation camp would say that photos have never told the unvarnished truth. A camera shows, and has always only shown, a fraction of reality, and even then what we see is taken out of context or even fabricated. Photography from its onset has been subjected to modifications. In 1839, the Frenchman Louis-Jacques Daguerre patented the daguerreotype, or what could be called the first "picture." Simply explained, the daguerreotype combined the usage of the camera obscura and silver iodide to produce a permanent image on a copper plate. A very exciting innovation, Daguerre boasted of it, "With this technique, without any knowledge of chemistry or physics, one will be able to make in a few minutes the most detailed views" ("Photography"). Almost immediately, the daguerreotype, especially daguerreotype portraits, became immensely popular. Its popularity, of course, can be attributed to its novelty, but also because people believed the daguerreotype produced a more real image than a painting. The general attitude toward the daguerreotype was that it could create images more realistically because there was no artist to interpret and modify it in his own style.

    Opponents of Digital Manipulation insist Photography should always represent the truth, asserting Photography's  first and foremost function is to portray reality. Many assume that photographs have never been manipulated, and that this recent outbreak in digital technology damages the integrity of photography. Without delay, anti-manipulation proponents demanded an end to all "dishonest" photography, as it severely misleads the public. Also, they view digital manipulation as a purely mechanical process, with no talent or skill involved. Furthermore, anti-manipulation proponents fear manipulated photos might acquit murderers or rapists in courts of law. The thought that photography had replaced painting abounded. "As if photography needed to absolve itself from its ‘original sin’--of having brought about the death of painting", a movement known as pictorialism thrived around 1890-1914, the Art Nouveau period. Proponents of pictorialism primarily set out to gain the recognition of photography as an art rather than just a mechanical process. The pictorialists fashioned bizarre and oddly focused images in order to prove photography was indeed a creative art. It was here that such concepts as shading and enhancing during development appeared. Because of these new shadings and angles, it can be said that Art Nouveau saw the dawn of "Photo manipulation." So the manipulation of photography actually began early in the the 20th century.

        In 1982 there was outrage over the manipulation of the Great Pyramids on the cover of National Geographic but the Genie was out of the bottle. There was no going back. In the 1990’s Computer programs like Adobe Photoshop began to be available to the general public. Now, even someone with little or no talent could produce delightful works. On the other hand, sensitive artists could produce masterpieces on a scale undreamed of. It seems clear that using this technology to willfully falsify photographs for slanderous, scandalous, or persuasive ends is morally wrong, but what about using it to create obvious unreality that looks real or Fantastical Realism in art as in pictures of fairies or mythic creatures?

What is realism? Realism in Art and literature has always meant that the artist attempts to represent persons, scenes, things, and facts as they are, life as it is. The word is used in many senses- as opposed to romanticism, to conventionalism, to sentimentalism, to idealism and to imaginative treatment. Sometimes it is a term of praise, and sometimes it is a term of derision. During the 19th and 20th centuries the use of the word realism often implied that the details brought out were of an unpleasant, sordid, obscene, or generally offensive character. Even the greatest illustrators of the day were ridiculed. Realism is commonly applied to a 19th century school of writers and artists; but realism, in it's prime and proper sense, is as old as art and literature themselves, but in the hands of it's most notorious exponents, it quickly degenerated into a connotation of the more sinister features of realism.

     Many 20th century contemporary realists and artists working in the Photo Realism style were trained in an educational system openly hostile or dismissive to Classical realism and art tradition and were only taught the tenets of Abstraction and Expressionism. As a result many of these artists are more akin to the abstract and expressionist schools than the "Classical Realism" of the ancient Greeks, which adored beauty and nature. Contemporary Realism does not embrace the math and design of the Classical school but does not frown on beauty. Photo Realism only strives to look as much like a photograph as possible and sometimes the results are shocking or disturbing. Other times they are mundane and so ordinary as to be boring. They often deliberately decline to select subjects from the natural, beautiful, and harmonious and more especially, depict ugly things and bring out details of an unsavory sort for social and political purposes. The real mission of Photo-realism is not to record everyday life like a Norman Rockwell painting, but to expose the unconscious way we look at and accept photographs.

By the 20th century realism had spread to nearly all nations- realistic elements combined with those of Impressionism, Symbolism, and other movements. Fantastic Realism on the other hand, is born of these movements and tied to them in style and technique, but prefers to explore subjects that are strange or strikingly unusual rather than scenes of everyday life or objects. It is often bizarre in form, conception and appearance and even wondrous in its beauty. Sometimes macabre and grotesque, it is rarely boring like the other forms of Realism in visual art so often are. Fantastic Realism can be completely apart from reality, yet appearing to be quite real. It is versatile in that it can combine with or be a part of the Classical, Contemporary or Photo-realistic schools or stand as a style unique unto itself. I combine elements from all of these schools of Realism and then take it a step further by also combining a wide variety of media from traditional oil paintings to today's cutting edge digital media in my exhibits. Naturally, the darker side human nature shows itself again with condemnation of new schools of expression, and new art media and technology. Like the photographers before them, digital artists wanted the recognition of their work as an art rather than just a mechanical process. Unlike the snapshot camera or an abstract painting, a trained chimp or orangutan cannot do it: it takes the same visionary and eye to hand skills as any traditional art media to do it well

   Since the times of the ancient Greeks, Art History records a relentless quest for Realism and artistic excellence. The masters of each generation strove to perfect their craft, then passed on the torch of their accumulated knowledge and skill to the next generation.

The accomplishments and technological breakthroughs of one generation have often set new standards of excellence for the next.

~ Howard David Johnson

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The Johnson Galleries

Click on the Icons to visit the Thematic Galleries of Realistic Art: Including Mythology of Greece, Rome, Asia, The Norsemen, and more...Fairy and Dragon legends, The King Arthur Legends, The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Paintings of Ancient Egypt and Babylon, Ancient Mystic Religious texts, History of War from The Ancient Spartans and the Trojan Horse to World War Two, The World's Great Religions, and Art Technique and design...Art Lessons, Celtic Mythology & Pencil Techniques display some full size art... 

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Fairy Paintings

Greek Mythology

Celtic Mythology World's Religions Norse Mythology Surreal Fantasy Art

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Asian Mythology

Symbolist Art

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Art Numérique

Art Commissions

Commercial Art

History of Dragons

More Fantasy Art

Mythic Women Art
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About the Artist Thumbelina full size Pencil Portraits I Colored Pencils II Fairy Wallpapers Link Exchange
All Realistic Art - paintings, pictures, & text  (c) 1982- 2014 Howard David Johnson  All rights reserved

ABOUT THE ARTIST

     The various galleries linked to by the thumbnail icons in his web show many examples of HDJ's Realistic Art, and are grouped by theme rather than media. There are also sample illustrations from his  upcoming books on Celtic Myth and Legend and World Myth & Legend. Since boyhood he has passionately copied the old masters. To create his work, he usually starts with a thematic concept  followed by a rough realistic pencil sketch, then followed by his photography, often traveling to find suitable scenes and locations and then working in his Photography studio with live models from his sketches. 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. Beginning with a tracing, he then draws or paints from these complex original Computer Photo Montages. Many of these are on display on this web and slated for future completion in a variety of traditional realistic art media. As this happens, the finished work is substituted in the exhibit.

      He has built up an enormous library of original source photos to use in his realistic art.  Recently he shot hundreds of aerial photos of clouds at marvelous angles and perspectives and also looking down on the mighty mountains, rivers, and deserts of the American west while flying from Texas to Oregon and back for dynamic source material for realistic flying scenes in upcoming paintings, drawings, and pictures.  For decades he has sought out the most beautiful models and brought them in for sessions in his photography studio. Using a strategy employed by J. W. Waterhouse, the old master H D J imitates most- see Helen of Troy ( a recognizable tribute ) and The Messenger ( in the spirit of Waterhouse ) both featuring Grace- his wistful and graceful models cannot be underestimated in their contribution to the stunning beauty and the potential for lasting appeal of his work. Their last names are withheld to protect them from stalkers & other internet predators.

  His favorite medium for traditional 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 most recently, 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 and marketing of computer imaging software for Adobe Photoshop. Working in a realistic style inspired by classic illustrators H D J is deeply rooted and grounded in the Greco-Roman artistic tradition, Feeling that especially with realistic art - that  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 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 artist.

    Computers have not diminished his love of working in traditional media. He loves to draw portraits from his own photographs as well as using them to create illustrations in various media.  Click on 'The Messenger' above for more on H D J's other public domain sources & influences he uses to create his realistic art.

   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... H D J'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 realistic art media such as colored pencil drawings, pastel paintings, acrylic paintings, gouache paintings, water color 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 realistic illustrations and old fashioned customer service when he does work-for-hire.

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Howard David Johnson is a contemporary realistic visual artist and photographer with a background in
the natural sciences and history. He works in a wide variety of realistic art media ranging from traditional
oils,  pastels and others to cutting edge digital media. He loves mixing media. His web site features
many examples of his Realistic Art, including illustration, photography, experimentalism, and fine art

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He accepts select commissions to paint custom oil paintings with down payments starting at only one thousand dollars. Other media, like colored pencils or digital are of course far less expensive. He grants permission for most educational purposes simply for asking courteously. To use his existing realistic art he offers licenses for publishing starting as low as $100.00 U S D.

NEW REPRINTS!   LICENSES    CUSTOM BOOK COVERS    ORIGINAL ART    ART INSTRUCTION   ART BOOKS

info@howarddavidjohnson.com

Thank you for Visiting... Your  business, letters, & links are always welcome.

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