On the one hand, “magic realism” finds every edge of every object, the result being something which is called “photo realism (although a photo doesn’t necessarily define everything in its field). The success of the style depends upon an absolutely mastery of the medium. My favourite magic realist is Tom Forrestal, whose imaginative frame shapes supply the creative pop; photo realism too often feels stiff because every detail is equally important. Juicy colour is another antidote frequently present in magic realism.
The other end of the lost and found spectrum would show everything indistinctly, the Impressionists being famous explorers of the lost edge. Some critics praise the technique as more “painterly” than photo realism because, I suppose, it leaves more room for the imagination. That we have to view the such paintings like Monet's waterlilies from a certain distance also gestures towards the mysterious.
As usual, I am somewhat in the middle. I consider myself to be a realist, simply because I don’t think you can improve on reality. We live in a beautiful world and for me, art’s job is to recognize and celebrate that. But I also want the viewer to join me in exploring, so frequently I will detail focal areas and use lost edges to suggest rather than show the background. When it works, you get the impression of seeing something in its setting the way the eye would see it: we focus on what interests us and the rest of our visual field remains fuzzy.
As far as this painting is concerned, my obvious interest is in the extraordinary effects of light on these two flower heads. Their colour is intense but varied and demanded multiple layers of glazing. They are set in a dark background but I assume they are lit from above and are growing in a garden, although for the life of me I can’t remember where. To suggest their placement, I have only laid in some neutralized green for the foliage but before the painting is finished, there will be light touches of brighter green and some hard edges.
Monday: Mea culpa. I haven't be able to bring myself to finish the painting, lost edges or not, because something was bothering me. Artists always look to establish the light source and this one didn't make sense, no matter how I rotated the painting. Finally, a eureka moment -- I recognized a indistinct fragment of the hot water radiator (to my credit, I had already decided that it couldn't be a fence....); the reference photo was taken in our kitchen in front of the northwest window! Probably sitting in a glass of water on the counter, the flowers were decidedly not growing , nor was the light coming from above. I had to have taken the shot late in the day, sometime in spring before the canopy opened. The dazzling sunlight was entering instead at a low angle, backlighting the flowerhead below to the left! Gravity reigns again!
Dang. Back to the drawing board to re-think that background. At least it now the image is right side up! Let's agree that I painted it in Australia.