BBC4 Art Programme

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AERA members have received a letter by founder member Charles Harris telling about the BBC´s plans to stage a series of programmes on conceptual art this autumn. As traditional artists we should remind the BBC that realist art may not be as outrageous and provoking as conceptual art but at least it is easily understood by everyone.

Charles asks:
’ What Standards Exist in Art today?
’ What Values Should Art Offer Society, Especially With Public Money?’
‘ What Values are Offered in Deprived Areas, where these modernist ugly, cold, unnatural objects are erected? ‘
‘And what value Is there in making art videos for the public, with public money? ‘
’ Why Does BBC Television Make Programmes Glorifying this Corruption of Art With Public Funds Today?’

When will the BBC present a programme about contemporary realism? The BBC´s report about the new Tate Modern is yet another example of what to expect of art in our times. It was broadcast on the BBC world service a couple of days ago.

Please contact the BBC and tell them about your personal views. If you prefer here is a direct LINK to send comments to the BBC.

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Welcome New Members

We are happy to be able to present a number of new members to our Association Embracing Realist Art (AERA). Just browse through the members list and take a look at their biographies. Although it is not possible to mention all their achievements here, may I just name one or two of our friends like Charles Harris who has paintings in the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace. Then there is Eric Armusik from Pennsylvania and Hamish Blakely from England whose works are featured in many museums and galleries.

All of us are dedicated to realist art making sure that the old traditions and skills survive and are no longer swamped by modernism.

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Charles Harris on Wikipedia

newspaper cutting

Charles Harris in the Dundee Courier 30th Jan 2014

Our founder member Charles Harris has made it to Wikipedia

Let us congratulate Charles on his achievement. If possible please install a link to his wikipedia entry on your website.

I have included a newspaper cutting about one of his en plein air activities.

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Is modern art really so bad?

Artist Robert Florczak explains the history and the mystery behind the changes that have taken place in the art world in the 20th an 21st centuries. In about 6 minutes he explains what´s wrong and what can be done about it. Some 1.4 million viewers appear to have found it interesting.

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Opinion on Art

Here is an interesting statement by Andy Rooney expressing his views on modern art. In just under 3 minutes he finds the right words which would support our cause. Some 1.4 million viewers appear to have found it interesting.

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Letter from IGOR

We are very happy to have received the following letter from the International Guild of Realism. They have since posted a link to AERA on their news page.
Their letter reads as follows:

Dear Pat and Charles,

Thanks for the note and we appreciate your kind words. Yes, the Guild has been very successful over the last 12 years hosting many major exhibitions for our artist members. We viewed your site and we congratulate that you are promoting realism in Europe. We would be glad to make a posting for your site on our Art News page. Also, thanks for having a link to IGOR from your site.

We have our upcoming 11th Annual Exhibition coming up in August at Gallery 1261 in Denver, Colorado. Your members might want more info about this international realism exhibition so here is the link: .

Let stay in touch with each other.
Best Regards,
IGOR Administration Team
International Guild of Realism

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Certificate of Membership

Members have now been issued with a certificate of membership. This will allow them to print it on their home printer to be displayed at exhibitions and presentations. In addition they have received a JPG file which they can upload to their own personal web site adding a link to the AERA web site.

Here is an example.

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Murray´s Reply

Hello Charles and Pat,

The dilemma of the modern practise of working from photographs is an interesting one as it has got easier and easier for people to snap away and print out their own photographs.

I do find it a necessary evil to use photographs as a part of my source material however I would qualify this with the following.

When talking to my students about working from photographs I point out the pitfalls and ask them to consider the following:-

The curve of the lens distorts what the eye sees and makes it especially dangerous to copy from, a great example of this being when showing them how distorted the perspective of a building or street scene becomes. Have they ever noticed how the printed image looks so different in terms of colour and tonal values from the image viewed on the computer screen and therefore what is the reality of colour and tonal value of the actual live scene and then the printer will print the colours differently again? I also point out that a camera has the unhappy effect of averaging out colour and tonal values and ask if they have ever thought about why black and white photography is so much more highly regarded than is colour photography? Look into the shadows in real life and then look at those shadows in your photographs, there is no comparison.

My advice is to ALWAYS sketch a scene no matter how quickly or slowly, make colour notes and then take some photographs for studio use. The act of sitting and making a sketch imprints more truth about the scene than any amount of photographs could and always best of all is to get out and paint from real life as often as is humanly possible. The truth in nature can only be seen with the naked eye and so much of that is missed when working from a photograph, often the result of which can look dead.

When I refer to a photograph I have all of the above in mind but will always favour working from nature!

I lead painting holidays for HF Holidays and my own in Europe and the main aim of these is to get people out into the great outdoors to paint. I am greatly looking forward to my next drawing and Painting holiday in France near Bergerac and then an HF Holiday ‘Landscape Painting In Artisan Water-Mixable Oils’ when I will be with the guests at Glencoe in May.

Best Wishes,

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Thoughts about Realist Art

I think if we are going to succeed with this new aim, it is also important to ask questions of ourselves and others.

I am therefore interested, as with everybody who joins, to learn what people think, do, and say, when faced with the big contradictions in art today.
And I do think it is important we should not be embarrassed to be honest and forthright, despite the difficulties we have all faced in trying to make traditional art. For as you will have seen, we have formed this group to preserve traditional painting from the final disintegration and loss it faces from unchecked modern art today.

As a consequence we will challenge misinformation about how and why great art was made, and what we can each do to recover those wonderful standards. This will mean seeking to reform many unnecessary ideas and practices. It also means drawing lines.

So I offer one example here – the practice of working from photographs?
If you take the current practice in portraiture of only working from photos, then this style has lead to over sized heads being copied and present, distortions for all kinds presented for all types of poorly justified modern trendy reasons, when the drawing was so bad otherwise, without being able to hide behind the excuses of modern visual distortion.
Would you be happy and expect others likewise to comment for us against this practice of the use of photography for example? To explain we know the use exists and has done for a long period, it may seem quicker to execute, but there are a number of good reasons why this practice is limited/ fails, and if we are going to see a return to the great standards of traditional art, we must first start by encouraging proper drawing again today.

I hope you will not find this difficult, for I think we should be helping others to complete new steps in practice and understanding, and in this example by teaching them how to do better without this prop. And I do expect it will prove necessary to help other members in our new group too in both thought and practice, for there are so many problems to overcome.

Prof. Charles Harris MA.BA.
(Copyright – February 2016)

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artist Charles Harris

en plein air

Join experienced Realist artists and promote Traditional techniques in painting today, with your own realistic representations of your chosen subjects. These include Landscape, Seascape, Architectural, Still life, Portraiture, People and Environment, or any other subject that fits into traditional conventional categories such as classical, representational, figurative, all with proven realist values.

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