At every art or fine craft show I participate in someone asks me, “is that really what you saw?” Most of the time this question is in reference to the Blue Bird - (c) Paul Grecianportrayal of color. This is a more complex question than it may sound. Color is always the result of many factors, including film choice, white balance, polarization, the scene’s actual light, color contrasts, exposure, and of course printing. My goal in each image I make is to present what I saw in my mind’s eye. The way I present a picture is a combination of both my aesthetic choices and the reality of the subject/scene in front of me. My choice of focus – deep or shallow, my choice of color – muted or vibrant, my choice of perspective – wide or narrow, my juxtaposition of elements – together or separated, all impact the presentation of the subject or scene. These are decisions made before I enter a location, while in the field, and afterward during the developing (not chemically, but cognitively), and printing of the image.

I’ve studied nature my entire life, in the field, in text books, and through various mediums of art. There is the biological reality of a subject and the emotional reality of a subject. When I decide on the presentation of any image, both realities come into play. Sometimes I will even look at other artist’s representations of a subject for comparison or inspiration.

In the current issue of Wildlife Art magazine there is a feature article about Robert Bateman, a personal hero of mine and a favorite artist. He was talking about his approach to his art and is quoted “…..if I ever have conflict between art and nature, art takes over.” I have to admit I was a bit surprised, but not at all disappointed that this should be his approach.

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