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Werner Art Studios
Illusionistic Landscape Painting Page

Contemporary landscape paintings which are done in a style of surreal illusionism are for sale by David Werner of Werner Art Studios. These paintings are painted in acrylic paint that is applied primarily with an airbrush.

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My paintings are illustrations of a moment caught in time.


All the paintings feature some sort of visual paradox: a blue sky with a window in it, a wall composed of a sky, a midday scene with an evening sunset in it or basic shaped objects who sometime find it hard to stay confined to their two-dimensional realm. My land and skies seem bright and sunny, but there is a displacing artificiality about the too-regular clouds and flat stark planes. The point of this interplay between drawn objects and abnormal settings is that the common sense perception of reality is only one way of looking at the world. I want to forcefully demonstrate the paradoxes of perception of a given vista. As in life not all that is perceived as being so is so. My matter-of-fact way of depicting anomalies and incongruities in the fabric of reality often seems to my viewers to be as humorous as it is disquieting. Many of my paintings are laden with visual jokes, such as, does a particular painting represent a moment caught in time within a wall-like boundary, or is it just a spatial form representing a static object such as a wall or sphere. Underlying the humor, however, is a serious attempt to demonstrate the multifaceted character of perceived reality.
In painting, space is an illusion, an indication of three dimensions in two. This is rendered by conventions understood by the work's audience, and conventions vary in different periods and places.
In Art this technique of illusion is called perspective it is used to represent three-dimensional spatial relationships on a two-dimensional surface. The three principal types of perspective are: visual perspective, in which depth is suggested by overlapping and by the smaller size of distant objects: linear perspective, in which lines converge as they approach the horizon: and aerial perspective, in which distant colors become cooler and outlines gradually fade. In my work I emphasize the depth and projection of objects in order to give the paintings an illusionistic quality. Basically speaking illusionism comprises those painterly techniques whereby forms painted on flat planes are made to appear three-dimensional and to exist in deep space. Perspective was largely ignored until the early 15th century, when a radically new conception of space and form was first reflected in the art of the day. A renewed interest in optics and mathematical laws contributed to the resources of Perspective Illusionism. Painters everywhere took pleasure in extreme refinements and visual trickery of various kinds. In Italy the art of illusionism was carried to breathtaking extremes on painted baroque ceilings.
These landscapes I paint, have their roots in a long unbroken tradition of landscape painting in Asia. Nature oriented paintings done in China and Japan prompted over two thousand years of landscape art. Just as I do today, the Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans did not "copy" nature but imagined their landscapes. These scenes were viewed as an aid to reaching a greater spiritual enlightenment through understanding the essence of nature. The viewer was intended to "walk" meditatively through a terrain and contemplate the philosophical or spiritual meanings of the elements encountered. As in the dream landscapes paintings of the 1930's, I too mix reality and imagination within my landscapes for a symbolic importance.
My illusionistic landscape paintings have a strong vein of surrealism in them. This style of Surrealism in my works manifests itself as imagery that is based on fantasy and the world of dreams. The term surrealist was coined by Guillaume Apollinaire in 1917; the artistic movement, however, came into being only after the French poet Andre Breton published the first surrealist manifesto in 1924. In this manifesto Breton suggested that rational thought was repressive to the powers of creativity and imagination and thus hostile to artistic expression. An admirer of Sigmund Freud and his concept of the subconscious, Breton felt that contact with this hidden part of the mind could produce poetic truth.
In my paintings the relationship of color is of utmost importance. Color is the sensation that is aroused when light falls on the retina of the eye. Light may be perceived either as originating directly from a light source or as reflected light. Color perception depends on the different degrees to which various wavelengths of light stimulate the eye. Color has so many meanings for different observers that a strict definition is difficult, if not impossible. The chemist is conscious of color as a quality concerning a pigment or a dye; the psychologist describes color in terms of visual perception; and the physicist may define color in terms of qualities such as the wavelength of light and its intensity. I as the artist however use color as a, tool to be manipulated in order to evoke human emotion.
The paints I use are acrylic. Acrylics are water-based paints made from acrylic resins. Since these paints appeared in the 20th century, many painters have used them in preference to oils. Among the many advantages of acrylics are their quick-drying properties, durability, color fastness, and adhesion to almost any surface I choose to paint on.
I apply the majority of my paint onto a canvas or wooden panel using an airbrush. The airbrush is a device for applying liquid as a fine spray. The liquid is fed into the nozzle of the airbrush by gravity or suction, or under pressure. A flow of compressed air atomizes the liquid into a fine mist, which is then carried along with the air stream coming out of the nozzle. The airbrush is designed so that normally only the supply of liquid is adjusted; the air supply and consequently the air flow from the nozzle remain constant. A paint spray gun is essentially a large airbrush. The principle is similar to that of the common perfume atomizer. When painting a work with an airbrush, the hand eye coordination is essential in being able to "hit the mark". There is no direct contact between the airbrush tool and the paint surface as with a traditional paint brush. The airbrush artist does not make direct contact with the painting but rather is several inches away from it. Thus, he must have an intuitive knowledge as to where the tool is pointed, in order to accurately apply the desired amount of paint to a specific area of the painting when the airbrush's trigger is activated.

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