This morning, as the warm, red early morning glow pierced through the trees and over the railway on Camden Road, I paused. Being caught ‘in the moment’ is an infrequent occurrence in London and, cold as it was, I stood still and breathed in the atmosphere.
This experience led me to reflect a little on my own habit of looking at artwork on a screen. Would I have been able to gauge the subtle intricacies of those colours, shifting ever so slightly moment by moment, from my iphone or laptop? No. But I could have applied a colour filter to an image of the sunrise and shared the experience with you all! An image on a screen will not necessarily reveal to us the more subtle secrets of a hand painted image, nor will it command the same presence or emotion of the real thing. Neither sunsets nor paintings are made to be viewed online. When I show people my own work on my iphone I can worry if it’s always worth it- did they see it, or just see it?
A good example of an emotional response to landscape is Turner. He took his sketches home and transformed them into vivid works of art. Most of us know what one of his paintings looks like, and there are plenty of high quality images of his work online. There is, however, no comparison to viewing the work in real life and being a part of its atmosphere. Long live the real thing.
Words Fred Sorrell