The Beauty of Painting

The beauty of painting is you’re giving a sensation parallel to life, describing something in paint which gives a different feeling than reality, yet paradoxically enhances the viewer’s experience of the world.

When I first went to Europe after graduating from art school, and looked at masterworks, the best ones breathed. The accuracy and economy of touch gives a feeling to forms, which concentrates the essentials and eliminates the superfluous, giving the sensation one is experiencing a slice of life frozen in time.

Robert Lemay at The Front Gallery

You enter the form world of Velasquez or Vermeer and each painting depicts recognizable subjects from life, yet one feels one is experiencing a different self-contained world in each artist’s paintings.

Robert Lemay at The Front Gallery, Edmonton

I realize my purpose is to paint beautiful flowers at this time. It might not sound like much. To many people it’s nothing. But it’s taken me this long to realize – forget the conventional notion of the avant-garde, the idea of novelty, of showing in the new academies, or showing in official art institutions, the equivalent of the 19th century salon painters like Bouguereau or Couture. Realism is truth telling; it doesn’t go out of style.

Robert Lemay paintings at The Front Gallery Edmonton

If you use paint and canvas and observe something which exists in light, in space, it is by definition contemporary, not fantasy or historicist, and it will reveal certain things about the time in which it was made.

Robert Lemay and Peony painting

This is why 70s realism looks different from 30s realism or 17th century realism. There is a truth in Caravaggio or a Colville based on the observation of the artist living in their time.