Looking yesterday at the difference, to my eye, in appearance between the physical and the digital versions of the second ‘inside looking out’ painting and thinking it might be due to the first relying on a subtractive process and the other an additive one. Digital is light, paint is reflected light and it’s also back-lit.
So I had an idea to print the painting onto film and due to a past life using OHPs I have a small stock of printable sheets. The printing is not good; somewhat weak and a little blurry. This is the result with white paper behind it and it feels brighter, although the effect is inevitably conflated with being secondarily seen on screen.
This was to be the test – make a blank blog page, display it as such, then stick the OHP onto the screen where it would benefit from the back light – but I was foiled by distortion. Also again this is secondarily brightened by being viewed on screen.
Two things then – better printing and a light box. But then if that’s the answer, what is the actual question? One would be how to make the physical painting brighter in its own right and clearly some artists have achieved that; or at least they’re perceived to have achieved it because how many of us have seen them in reality rather than onscreen? I recall the shock being expressed by some at how small the Mona Lisa actually is, suggesting that the size of its reputation and significance has enlarged its physical size in people’s minds.
So when we see art in situ , are we seeing the ‘raw’ version as painted or the one enhanced by provenance? Does digital viewing distort the original by making it brighter (and larger) maybe leading to subsequent disappointment with the physical version? And critically for artists hoping to make a living from their work, are prints from photos that reflect the digital platform they may be selling from a better way forward than risking disappointment when an original doesn’t live up to expectations?
In your own time!