REPORTAGE AND POETRY are literary terms that describe a difference of intent in writing. But it can be very useful for painters to consider these terms in relation to our work. We can say that reportage aims to present facts and details, while poetry gives special intensity to the expression of feelings and ideas by a distinctive style with attention to the elements and principles of visual language.
The "elements" are the marks we can make: line, shape, direction, size, value, color and texture. The "principles" identify what we can do with the elements to create: dominance, contrast, repetition, gradation, harmony, unity and balance. Some folks enjoy paintings with tremendous amounts of descriptive detail and literal rendering. At the other end of the spectrum of visual language is pure abstraction, with little or no regard for identifiable subject matter.
The usefulness of this distinction for the painter is in how expressively we are learning to communicate using visual language. We can all make marks, but it's the application of design principles that raises the poetic quality of our paintings.
©Jimmy Longacre 2017
14X18 oil on canvas panel
subjective realist landscape paintings
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