Fact or Fallacy: Illusion works faster than reality!

Fact or fallacy:

I came across this saying: Illusion can never go faster than the speed limit of reality.

I don’t agree. When it comes to art, illusion is the game.

Created illusion

A5 watercolour: Setting sun in the early evening.

Illusion works quickly on the mind. Like gossip it travels very fast. People love to make up something to fit the suggestion they envision. That is, make up a story to fit the illusion.

Let’s be honest. Artists can’t paint what God so perfectly created. It would drive artists mad if they persisted in copying every detail of reality. It is easier and quicker for artists to create illusions of reality.

Twicking the facts and suggesting reality draws people’s attention and involves their senses and emotions, more than harsh reality.

The main points of my argument as to the speed of illusion:

  1. A picture that is full of detail is confusing because it is hard to take in every detail all at once.
  2. Neatly defined objects give the impression they’re standing still and lifeless. Boring. Why, because sharp neat outer contour edges of an object are symbolically read. Example, toilet signs!  If the outline is important, that means the inner section of a shape doesn’t have to be so detailed!
  3. There again, a blurred object suggests movement. For example the spokes of a bicycle. Therefore we see blurring is the action of speed. If you think about it, the eye travels easier and smoother, much faster over blurred things and blurred edges than neat clean contour edges. Therefore atmospheric conditions in a painting are more pleasing to people than stark reality.
  4. The right brain is quick to assess the relationships between what it sees and what’s happening at the same time. The assessment requires the involvement of one’s senses and emotions. Our emotions work more quickly than the reality before us. Our right brain has assessed the possible future action, before the situation has happened.
  5. If detail is reduced in a painting, people tend to seek out what detail there is, to sum up the rest of the illusion. The fewer the detail, the quicker they can come to a conclusion.
  6. Loosening up and the freedom of one’s brushstrokes creates lyric flow and action within our paintings.
  7. Fantasy is more fun than reality. Imagination is quick to fill-in and join the gaps, link the facts and complete what the person wants to believe. That’s why people play games on the phones. They enjoy playing with fantasy.

Conclusion: Illusion is easier and quicker to peruse. Therefore the fantasy of illusion works faster than reality.

Now you can see why I love atmospheric paintings.

But if your painting is all blurred, it stays a mystery. There must be some definition to link the facts.

That is why paintings must have dominance and strength of contrast (of tone and colour) at the main point of interest. And a few selected details or highlights to guide the eye in and around the illusion of reality.

In my view:

Illusion is the power artists use to create with. And people buy paintings to fantasize upon. Paintings are another world. A fantasy world on another dimension! Away from the starkness of reality.

What is your opinion?

  • When you’re in an art gallery, and you see a painting you like, what appeals to you first?
  • How far does the authenticity of reality play in your choice?
  • Look again. Was it really the authenticity of the detail that appealed to you?
  • Or was it the atmospheric conditions or highlight effects that really gripped your approval?