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THE CON-GAME OF REALITY A SECRET OF GREAT OIL PAINTING FEATURING A WORK BY NICOLA SAMORI

In the red circle, the legs of this figure are


painted with highly credible anatomical
detail. The knees are believable and even more
important the cast shadow on the inner leg and
modeling of light around the columnar surface
of the leg is realistic and follows all the familiar
laws of light (and physics) that we see when
objects are illuminated. This accuracy and
credibility allows us to forgive the pale white
color, and we believe these objects are without
question, legs.

This kind of convincing detail wins the viewers


confidence. Those legs are so right that I
have to take the artist seriously and when the
artist says: this is what I see, this is exactly
what it looks like I must believe them. The
convincing detail has won a psychological
battle of believability and credibility that the
artist can now exploit.

In the blue circle we see the face of this figure.


But its not like any face we are familiar with.
Its a blackened egg-shape that we might never
identify as a face. And though the lighting and
shadows on the black egg are consistent with
the other lighting in the painting, we still might
not see it as a face. However, the accuracy of the
rest of the image those legs, the convincing
folds of fabric forces us to accept that face to
be as real as the rest of the image. This is the
true face of this figure.

The con-game of reality master power secret:

Create a section of your painting with high


fidelity to common reality. Make correct
accurate anatomy and realistic lighting.
Elsewhere, you can deviate in the extreme and
incorporate crazy-looking elements that will
be seen as real.

waltmorton@gmail.com