Boldly Exaggerate: Reality Is Not In A Mirror

Republished from Jan. 3, 2010

When “good” drawing becomes the starting point instead of the finish line, when my goal is expression rather than rendition, I feel I am maturing. But it takes time and I should continue developing my skill because this is what frees creativity.

What Pissarro says is true, you must boldly exaggerate the effects of either harmony or discord which colors produce. It is the same with drawing – accurate drawing, accurate colour, is perhaps not the essential thing to aim at, because the reflection of reality in a mirror…would not be a picture at all, no more than a photograph.
Vincent VanGogh

Sunset, Rouen by PissaroA “reflection of reality in a mirror”–is that what a painting should be? Our means to express reality are quite meager and so I feel an obligation to manipulate those means however I see fit to show, to demonstrate, what it is I see and feel. You cannot separate feeling from seeing–life is an experience. I want to paint my total experience. The viewer of the work sees not only their impression of a scene but, moreover, my impression.

MT McClanahan

An artist and perpetual thinker, MT McClanahan finds inspiration through connecting ideas across a broad range of topics. He especially enjoys philosophy and how art and life interconnect. He is the founder of TPT and his paintings can be seen at

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