Paintings and Pictures of Angels, Names of Angels and Angel lore; An Exhibit of 21st Century Angel Art and a brief introduction to Angelology: Realistic illustrations featuring spiritual themes inspired by Classic and Romantic Paintings in a wide variety of media along with commentary on the various illustrations and followed by essays and articles with themes relevant to this kind of art.  Newly Updated for 2014!

Presents: A Gallery of Angel Artwork Created for The Twenty-first Century 

A Gallery of New Paintings, Drawings and Pictures of Angels in traditional oils, Contemporary acrylics and cutting edge 2D & 3D digital mixed media in the style of the classic illustrators. Welcome friends! Click the control key plus the + or - keys to zoom in and out or fit the page match your viewing screen.

 

Celebrating our 18th Anniversary on the World Wide Web 1996- 2014!

                                            

With a background in traditional media including oils, pastels & colored pencils, Howard David Johnson embraces leading edge digital media in the creation of his depictions of fantasy, folklore, mythology, legend, religion, and heroic history. He works in and mixes a wide variety of media * Oil paintings * Acrylic Paintings * Prismacolor Paintings * Drawings * Chalk & Oil Pastel Paintings * Photography * Digital Artistry & Mixed Media * 

 

 

 

Angels: (from the Latin Angelus meaning messenger) are a race of spiritual beings intermediate between God and men; described in Hebrew, Christian, and Islamic scriptures, as well as in the Kabala. They are usually depicted with wings (but not always) and have no gender.

"Kissed by an Angel" MMVIII

They are celestial attendants of almighty God. The most famous of them are Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel and Metatron.  The nature of angels is that they are servants of God and have no free will, they were made of fire as men were made from clay and do only that which God bids them.

 In traditional angelology, angels constituted the lowest of the nine celestial orders (seraphim, cherubim, thrones, dominations or dominions, virtues, powers, principalities or princedoms, archangels, and angels).

 They served as messengers and saviors to mankind, but tradition tells us a third of them rebelled against the most high led by Lucifer, the most beautiful of them all in a war in heaven before the Earth was formed. They were judged and are now called demons and are as malevolent and pernicious as the holy angels are kind and beneficial...

 

"The BOOK of LIFE" MMVIV

 

 

This gallery is devoted to the holy angels who God has sent to minister to us and protect us every day....

 

And now... Enter a world of Beauty and Imagination...

 

Ingerii si arta sublim inspirata~ a film by Veveshakti

 

 

              

The Four Cardinal Archangels~ "The Pillars of The EARTH"

Angels endowed with divine knowledge appear in the apocalyptic and rabbinic literature as the teachers of men. This is the so-called "whisper of the angels". Michael initiated Adam and Seth into the secrets of creation and taught Adam agriculture. The angels Michael, Uriel, and Raziel initiated Enoch into the mysteries of the world. The angels mediate between God and man and carry the prayers up to the throne of God. Angels accompany the dead on their departure from this world.

 

           

 

 

           

 

Over thousands of years, mankind has described the functions of angels in many ways. The role of angels is developed in greatest detail in religions based on revelation - the disclosure or communication of divine truth or divine will to human beings. These monotheistic religions that share this view include Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Zoroastrianism.

How far this Angelology was influenced by Babylonian and Persian mythology, and what its relations are to Mandæan lore and to Egyptian-Hellenistic Gnosticism, is still a matter of dispute but Persian mythology is throughout and interwoven with Angelology (see Brandt, "Mandäische Religion," pp. 194-198). Coptic Gnosticism, also, has Ariel as king of the nether world, corresponding with Ur of the Mandæans.

In the Koran, Jewish and Gnostic angelologies seem to be intermingled. In Mohammed's time the old Arabian goddesses—Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, and Manat —were spoken of as angels and daughters of God (Koran, sura xxxvii. v.150, liii. v.20).

The chief of all the archangels is Gabriel (Jibril); Michael comes next; Israfil (Sarafiel) sounds the trumpet of the resurrection; and Azrael is the angel of death (the etymology of the last name is obscure). Instead of four, there are eight angels that support the throne of God (sura xlix. v.17).

 

Some angels have two, some three, others four wings (sura xxxv. v.2). "They celebrate the praise of their Lord and ask forgiveness for those that are on earth" (sura xlii. v.2).

 

 

 

"The Angel of Deliverance" MMVIII "The Ministering Angel of Comfort" MMVIII

 

 

 

    The Medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides taught that angels are creatures possessing form without matter. They are pure spirits differentiated from one another not by any bodily distinctions but solely by spiritual form and purpose, that the angels are only seen in the Bible as creatures of fire and human form with wings as a feature of the prophetic vision. Philo of Alexandria, a Hellenistic Philosopher (20 BC-50 AD) was inclined to accept the existence of angels as a fact far more than his allegorical system would lead one to surmise. He was prompted to do so through the example of the Stoics; they are "souls hovering in the air"; "some have descended into bodies; others have not thought fit to approach any part of the earth; and these, hallowed and surrounded by the ministrations of the Father, the Creator employs as assistants and ministers for the care of the mortals." "They report the injunctions of the Father to His children, and the necessities of the children to the Father. And, with reference to this, Holy Scripture represents them as 'ascending and descending.' . . . Not God, but we mortals are in need of a mediator and intercessor" (Philo, "On Dreams," i. v.22). "Souls, demons, and angels are things differing in name, but identical in reality. Yet, as men speak of God and of evil demons and of good and evil souls, so they speak of angels, calling them ambassadors of man to God and of God to man; and they are holy because of this blameless and honorable office. Others, on the contrary, are profane and unworthy, as is seen in Ps. lxxviii. 49" (Philo, "On Giants," pp. 3-4).

 

"The Angels of Forgiveness" MMX

  

 

"An Angel Blessing and Protecting a Home" MMVIII "The Next World" MVIII Thegri, the Angel set over the beasts

 

        In religions based on revelation, God and humans are usually distant from each other. Angels serve to bridge the gap. Angels praise and worship God, reveal the divine word and carry out God's will. They may also help people attain deliverance, comfort or receive special favors. Furthermore, in acting for God, angels may influence human affairs through such acts as rewarding faithful believers, punishing those who do evil, and helping those in need.  An angel set over the beasts is mentioned in Hermas' "Visions," iv. V.2; his name is Thegri. Angels tend to play a less important role in religions that worship many gods. These gods themselves may carry out angelic functions, often taking on a human appearance. In religions based on the belief that everything is god and that the universe and mankind share one essence, angels are far less important. They are not needed to bridge a gap between divinity and mortals. However, even in these religions angel-like spiritual beings may help people relate to divinity. It is in the Book of Daniel that a systematic classification of angels is first presented. In Joshua (5:13-15) reference is made to "the captain of the Lord's host".

 

          

"The Archangel Michael" MMV "The Archangel Uriel" MMXIV

 

Jewish tradition lays down A Heavenly Hierarchy, The process begun in The book of Daniel, and continued through the entirety of apocalyptic literature, finally revealed a heavenly hierarchy of stupendous proportions. In "The Celestial Hierarchy" written by Pseudo-Dionysius the notion is set forth that archangels and angels were the lowest of the Angelic orders and were the only angels directly involved in the worldly affairs of mankind. According to The Book of Enoch there are SEVEN Archangels: "holy ones who watch"): (1) Uriel ["God is Light"; set over the world's luminaries and over Sheol [compare Enoch, xxi. v.5, xxvii. 2, xxxiii. v.3, 4]; (2) Raphael, set over the spirits of men [compare Enoch, x. 4, where he is told to bind Azazel and to heal the earth with Tobit—iii. v.17]; (3) Raguel [Ra'uel, "the terrifier"], who chastiseth the world of the luminaries; (4) Michael, set over the best part of mankind, over the people of Israel; (5) Sariel [Æth., Sarakiel, Suriel, "God turneth"?], set over the spirits who seduce the spirits to sin; (6) Gabriel, set over paradise, the serpents [seraphim?], and the cherubim; (7) Jerahmeel ["God is merciful"], whom God set over the resurrection.

 

             

"Escorting a Soul to Heaven" MMVII "The Guardian angel" MMVII

 

Angels accompany the dead on their departure from this world. Accompanying angels are not permanent, but temporary, companions, they carry out missions but can be constantly re-dispatched by the least of us through faithful prayer as answered by the almighty. No single angel can carry out two messages, nor can two angels fulfill only one message. Of the three angels that came to Abraham, Michael, the guardian angel of Israel, brought the tidings of Isaac's birth; Gabriel, the angel of heavenly vengeance and of fire, had to overthrow Sodom; and Raphael rescued Lot" (Gen. xviii. v.2). Michael to the right, Uriel to the left, Gabriel in front, and Raphael in the rear of the throne. The Book of Jubilees, a version of the Pentateuch speaks of the Creation of Angels: "The angels of the face and of glorification, the angels of the elements of fire, wind, and darkness, of hail and hoar frost, thunder and lightning, of cold and heat, of winter and spring, summer and fall, of the abyss and night, of light and morning, were created on the first day. "Since Medieval times Christian theology has taught that Angels are organized into several orders, or Angelic Choirs.

 

 

 

"The Messenger" MMI "Raphael and the Sephiroth Tree" MMVIII

 

 

     In the Book of Tobit the name of a third angel appears—namely, Raphael ("God healeth," Tobit, iii. v.17)—called thus after his mission. "God hath sent me," he says, "to heal thee and Sarah, thy daughter-in-law. I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels, which present the prayers of the saints, and which go in and out before the glory of the Holy One" (Tobit, xii. v.14-15). The angels that execute God's judgment are called "the angels of punishment" Each angel has a tablet on his heart on which his name, combined with the name of God (EL). Four Angels of the Throne: On the other hand, Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Fanuel (Penuel) are introduced as "the four angels of the face of the Lord." After the watchers ("those that sleep not") have been described (ibid. xxxix. v.12, 13) as chanting the "Holy, holy, holy!" and mutually responding, "Blessed be the name of the Lord!" the following passage occurs (ibid. xl. 2): "I saw on the four sides of the Lord of spirits four presences [faces] different from those that sleep not, and I heard the voice of those four presences as they gave glory before the Lord of glory: The first [as the angel of peace explained it afterward], Michael "who is like God?", merciful and long-suffering, blesses the Lord of spirits for ever and ever; the second, Raphael, set over the diseases of the children of men, blesses the Elect One [the Messiah] and the elect ones who cleave to the Lord of spirits [the pious ones]; the third, Gabriel ["the mighty one of God"], set over all the powers, intercedes in behalf of the inhabitants of the earth [see Enoch, x. 9-10, 12-14]; and the fourth, Fanuel [Penuel "turning to God"], set over repentance and hope of eternal life, prevents the Satans from accusing men."

 

 

 

           

 

 

      Then again mention is made of seven classes of angels (Enoch, lxi. v.10 et seq.): (1) the cherubim,(2) seraphim, (3) ofanim, (4) all the angels of power, (5) principalities, (6) the Elect One (Messiah), and (7) the (elementary) powers of the earth and the water. They are endowed with seven angelic virtues—one more than is ascribed to the Messiah (Enoch. lxi.; after Isaiah. xi. v.2): "In the spirit of faith, of wisdom, of patience, of mercy, of judgment, of peace, and of goodness they glorify, saying: 'Blessed is He, and may the name of the Lord of spirits be blessed for ever and ever.'" A parallel to this is offered by the Testaments of the Patriarchs in Test. Levi, iii., where this description of the seven heavens is given: "In the highest of which dwelleth the great Glory in the Holy of Holies, and beneath it are the angels of the presence of the Lord, who minister and make propitiation to the Lord for all the ignorance of the righteous. . .  And in the heaven below this are the angels who bear the answers to the angels of the presence of the Lord, and in the heaven next to this are thrones and dominions in which hymns are offered to God; in the third heaven there are hosts of the armies ordained for the day of judgment, to work vengeance on the spirits of deceit and of Belial; the second has fire, snow, and ice ready, all the spirits of retribution for the day of judgment; and the lowest is gloomy because it is near the iniquities of men."

 

 

      

 

Cherubs and Cherubim

     With this Heavenly hierarchy firmly in mind,  a look at the visual portrayals of Angels in the Western Art tradition seems appropriate, particularly Cherubs and Cherubim; above are two very different interpretations : "Joan of Arc" MMVI (left) has the popular and time honored but incorrect interpretation of "Cherubs" or more aptly "Putti" and "Ezekiel's Vision" MMX (right), with more accurate six-winged Cherubim Angels with three faces each from descriptions in the visionary Book of Ezekiel chapter one. Classical (or Greco-Roman) tradition has influenced Christian art from it's earliest origins. Since the conversion of Constantine in 313 A.D.  The earliest Christian catacombs and tomb art incorporated the popular Greco-Roman Putti (or little Cupidic figures). The Putto were revived with passion in the works of Donatello and Raphael and became commonplace in the renaissance before they became one of the most dominant interpretations of Angels in painting and sculpture. The misuse of the term Cherubs for the Putti and their use in art as symbols of innocence has become so commonplace and time honored that it is now considered correct. Commonplace and correct are not always the same. Most people don't even know about the authentic Cherubim, who are among the highest ranked and holiest of God's Angels or realize they have been replaced with mischievous little demons from Pagan religion in much of our Western Art tradition.

 

 

     

 

ANGELS and DEMONS

The worship of the angels that removed the stone to the tomb of the Lord before the resurrection. "The First Easter" MMX (left) and "Into the Lake of Fire" MMX from The Book of Revelation Ch. 20: "The Dragon that old serpent, that is the Devil, cast in the Lake of Fire where he will be tormented for ever and ever." Satan is one of the sons of God (Job, i. 6, ii. 1). This makes the problem of evil all the more difficult. 

 

 

The Biblical story of the sons of God marrying the daughters of men (Gen. vi. 1-4), implying the possibility of angels lusting and sinning, suggested the idea of a fall, not only of man, but of pure heavenly beings as well. Taken together with the (Babylonian?) legends of Lucifer (Isaiah. xiv. 12), it seemed to take for granted the existence of evil spirits working antagonistically to God through the evil practices of witchcraft, astrology, and the like. Fallen angels became progenitors of hosts of evil spirits and seducers of men to crime and vice. Still, they were finally subjugated by the power of heaven, and punished by the archangels Raphael and Gabriel, and consequently a knowledge of their names would enable one to control them. The names of angels formed a favorite study of the Essenes in view of the magical cures effected by means of these names; for upon the accurate knowledge of the name and sphere of each angel. In the Testament of Solomon  pp. 1-45 (an apocryphal book). 

In the Book of ENOCH, the seventh from ADAM, the Watchers who had been sent to Earth to watch and pray for mankind, instead taught them abortion, weapon making and war, face painting and magic and fornicated with them. They came and begged ENOCH to pray for them, that GOD would have mercy on them. Their names as well as those of the faithful  are listed therein...

"Enoch and the Watchers" MMXIV

King Solomon's experiences confronting demons are related, of each of whom he asks his name as well as the name of the angel that can overpower him. Asmodeus answers that he is frustrated by Raphael, the archangel; another demon answers Paltiel is his most feared antagonist; a third, Uriel, etc. In Mark's Gospel 5:9; Christ does this as well. (Jesus) "...asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many." Then he cast them all out. Jesus' disciples came to him about their failures in Matthew 17:21 and he told them "...an evil spirit of this kind is only driven out by prayer and fasting". In the Book of Acts 19 v.13-18 The Seven sons of Sceva were professional exorcists and attempted to rebuke evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, "I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches." And the evil spirit answered and said to them, "I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" and the spirit overpowered him. It was like signing a check with someone else's name when you were not granted power of attorney. Becoming a Christian gives us that power of attorney to use his name in these matters according to the Bible.

 

 

          

"The Coming of WORMWOOD" MMXIV (left), "The Angel of Prophecy and Revelation" MMVIII (Center) and "Escape from Sodom" MMXIV (right)

 

The Angel-Princes of the Earth

  There is, however, a special angel-prince set over the world, Sar ha-'olam (Yeb. 16b, Sanh. 94a). He composed the verses, Ps. xxxvii. 25, civ. 31, and, partly, Isa. xxiv. 16.  He has been identified, whether correctly or incorrectly, with Metatron. According to the Testament of Job (lii.), this vice-regent "sitteth upon the great chariot" His "name is like the name of his Master" (Sanh. 38b, according to Ex. xxiii. 21), known under the name of "Metatron"; frequently explained as "Metator," "Metathronos," and "Metatyranos." Already in Dan. x. 20-21, the idea prevails that each nation has a heavenly guardian angel or prince. In Enoch, lxxxix. 59, the seventy shepherds are the guardian angels of the seventy nations over whom Michael, as Israel's angel-prince, is set as ruler. With these seventy-one angel-princes of the world God sits in council when holding judgment over the world (Hebrew Enoch; Jellinek, "B. H." v. 181); each pleading the cause of his nation before God. But The Archangel Michael, the angel-prince of Jerusalem (Zion, Targ. Ps. cxxxvii. 7-8), is set over all the seventy angels.

 

 

 

 

    However great the tendency to enlarge the number and the influence of the angels over life, there is, on the other hand, great stress laid upon the fact that the angels are in many respects inferior to man. Already Enoch (xv. 2) intercedes on behalf of the angels, instead of having them intercede for him; and none of the angels could see what he saw of God's glory (ibid. xiv. 21), or learn the secrets of God as he knew them. When John fell at the angel's feet to worship him in his account in The Book of Revelation, (22:9) the angel said: "Don't do that! For I am thy fellow servant just like you and your brothers the prophets, as well as all who obey what is written in this book. Worship only God!"

 

Thank you for visiting the Angel Art gallery of Howard David Johnson

Bibliography:

For more on Angelology and online copies of some of these rare books mentioned visit our sources:

The Talmud and The Q'Ran ~ www.jewishencyclopedia.com and www.sacred-texts.com

The Dead Sea Scrolls and of course - The Holy Bible

*****

 

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With a background in traditional media including oils, pastels & colored pencils, Howard David Johnson embraces leading edge digital media in the creation of his depictions of fantasy, folklore, mythology, legend, religion, and heroic history. He works in  a wide variety of media * Oil paintings * Acrylic Paintings * Prismacolor Paintings * Drawings * Chalk & Oil Pastel Paintings * Photography * 2D &3D Digital Artistry & Mixed Media *     

 

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All these pieces of art and the text are legally copyrighted and were registered with the U.S. Library of Congress Office of Copyright by the author, Howard David Johnson All rights reserved worldwide. Permission for many academic or non-commercial uses is freely and legally available by simply contacting the author via e-mail or visiting www.howarddavidjohnson.com/permission.htm

 

Who is American Illustrator Howard David Johnson?

In one of David's invitations to the Florence Biennale Contemporary Art Exhibition, (a partner in the United Nations' Dialog among Nations), UN Secretary General Kofi Anon wrote him: "Artists have a special role to play in the global struggle for peace. At their best, artists speak not only to people; they speak for them. Art is a weapon against ignorance and hatred and an agent of public awareness... Art opens new doors for learning, understanding, and peace among nations."

      Howard David Johnson is a contemporary realistic artist and photographer with a background in the natural sciences and history.  David works in a wide variety of mixed media ranging from oil on canvas to digital media. David's realistic illustrations have made appearances in every major bookstore and game shop chain in America as well as magazines and educational texts around the world. 

   Some of David's more prestigious clients have included the University of Texas, the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge in England, The Australian Mint, The National Geographic Society, Paramount Studios, Universal Studios, MGM Studios, Warner Brothers Home Video, ABC/Disney, CBS TV, PBS TV, The History Channel, Enslow Educational Publishers, Adobe Photoshop, Auto FX, Tree-Free Greeting, Verizon wireless, Apple IPOD, Penguin, Doubleday (Now Random House), Harlequin Top Historical Romances, and the History Book of the Month Club, as well as appearing in periodical publications like Popular Photography and the Wall Street Journal.   

 

A Traditional style portrait of the artist. [Photo by his son Erich.]

   After a lifetime of drawing and painting, David's Traditional Art was exhibited in the British Museum in London in 1996, ( 3 years before he got his first computer ) as well as numerous American ones since, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

 

    Working in a variety of media David offers his customers a variety of options and more than three decades of experience. As an illustrator he has not only used the computer but has been involved in the development and marketing of software for Adobe Photoshop. Digital art, Colored pencils, Pastels, Mixed media, & also Oil Paintings can also be commissioned for select projects.Digital illustration projects start at $500.U.S. and group rates are available. David delivers custom made copyright free illustrations & old fashioned customer service when he does work-for-hire. To publish existing pieces of his realistic art, David sells licenses starting at only $99.USD.

 

 

                                            

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Bonus Section:

Philosophy, Art, & Art Philosophy

Personal Opinion Essays on spirituality, and realistic art yesterday and today by the artist.

 

       

Essay IV

H. D. Johnson worked as a scientific research consultant for the University of Texas at San Antonio through the 1970's under the guidance of top Texas Scientists illustrating reconstructions of Paleontology and Anthropology, oddly enough, he then worked under the guidance of the world's foremost Biblical Scholars for the Center for Judeo-Christian Studies. The two dramatically different experiences back to back caused him to wonder...

Has Science become a Religion?

a brief essay applying the scientific method to religious studies by the artist

"Believing in God does not make you stupid; Galileo believed, Newton believed, Einstein believed. Going against the consensus of the scientific community also does not make you stupid- they all did! " ~ Howard David Johnson MMX

 

      

     With respect to its great contributions to society, I think it is important to make a case that science is really affecting society more like a religion now than a field of study or a resource base of useful information. Many everyday people do not understand it at all and accept ALL its teachings on faith. Science is supposed to be a tool and a path of study for the benefit of mankind and it is. I love Science and greatly appreciate it's benefits. I feel strongly that many scientists are heroes and deserve honorable mention and some truly deserve places of great honor in the hallowed halls of history. Breakthroughs in medical science are saving lives everyday in ways undreamed of just to name only one of so many valuable fields. 

       Unfortunately some scientists have also been criminals or have brought things into the world we all know about that we would have been better off without such as thermonuclear weapons and pollution. I believe it has also become things it should never have become. I shall briefly try to explain what I have seen that has made me feel that science is really affecting society more like a religion now than a field of study.

          The major criticism of science with regards to The Bible has been that it requires a leap of faith to believe that GOD created the world, yet Science also has several leaps of faith of it's own. The Big Bang theory cannot be proven as world renowned cosmologist Steven Hawking has stated and, if it cannot be proven - believing in it - in Hawking's own words requires a "Leap of Faith"

Until a theory is proven in a lab or in the field, it is Philosophy, not Physics. 

           EVOLUTION IS NOT A LAW OF SCIENCE. Darwin's Theory of Evolution was proposed in 1859 and almost a hundred and fifty years later it has still never achieved the status of a Law of Science. This is because of the Missing Link. There is no proof of a link between man and ape, hence the term "The missing link". This blind faith in Evolution has been taught with religious dogmatism in the public schools for generations and is still merely a theory. The Theory of Evolution, not the Law of Evolution  is a mere UNPROVEN hypothesis, which the dictionary defines as "a mere assumption or guess or a proposition, or a group of proposals, offered as an explanation for the occurrence of some specified group of phenomena."

          Yet this "mere assumption or guess" is taught to children in public schools and young adults in colleges as if it HAD been proven beyond any doubt.  It was once a Law of Science that the atom was the irreducible particle of matter. At Alamogordo, New Mexico in 1945 the atom was split and the atomic bomb explosion in the desert blasted that Law of Science out of existence.

             Now, if a Law of Science is so unreliable, I ask you, why is a mere theory like Evolution regarded so highly? Simple. It is about political control, not about truth. 

The Missing Link

In 1912 A.D. a respectable geologist named Arthur S. Woodward and a lawyer named Charles Dawson offered their new “fossil discovery” to the London Geological Society. The “artifacts” included a thick portion of a human skull, a fragment of an ape-like jaw, some animal remains and some primitive stone tools. These items found in southern England in a place called Piltdown were estimated to be 500,000 years old.

For 40 years the remains were accepted by the academic community as an important part of our evolutionary development. Piltdown Man was declared genuine and called the “missing link” between apes and man by important scientists of the time. Because of this newfound “proof” men of God were openly ridiculed as ignorant and improperly educated. Piltdown man was debunked four decades later by chemical tests proving the jaw and skull were not the same age, nor very old. It was a DELIBERATE fake. The bones had been chemically treated and thoroughly stained to make them appear prehistoric. Recognizable anatomical features were broken off and filed down.

Why did this fraud by lawyer Charles Dawson fool the experts? For many reasons, but it was never seriously questioned because the scientists of the time were delighted by the way it validated their evolutionist beliefs. For more details of the debunking read: ”The Piltdown Forgery” by Joseph S. Weiner, the classic account of the most famous and successful hoax in science. The new and revised 2002 edition is commonly available. Today, the term “Piltdown” is a term of ridicule, used to label fraudulent research, but the impact on the lives of billions of trusting people has had powerful political implications to this day.

The prover proves what the thinker thinks and prejudice and political power seem more important than the truth or the consistent practice of the scientific method. If truth were important to them, they would use the scientific method when criticizing The Bible but they do not. The scientific method requires going to the source. Yet for these famous disparagements they use the King James version instead of the original Hebrew. Translated in 1611 by non-Christian King James of England for political reasons the K.J.V. is one of the Colossal monuments of English Prose. The King James Translation is not at all accurate enough to use as the sole source for the defense of the Biblical Text. 

         Consider this example: One of the greatest conflicts between Science and the Bible is the teaching that the world was created in six solar days of 24 hours each. The word " yom" in the source, the original Hebrew text, which was translated as "Solar Day" had 56 other choices. Modern English has more than 60,000 words. Biblical Hebrew had 3,000. The average English vocabulary has 6,000. My favorite choice of the 56 other options:" an unimaginably long but complete period of time" harmonizes with science perfectly. Another choice is: "time itself". So as we can see, going to the source and using the Scientific Method brings very different results than not going to the source.

           Getting past this, the order in which life appeared was identical to the theory of evolution's claims in the Book of Genesis, leaving us to discuss the stars, the next main source of conflict between Science and the Bible. The Hebrew text says "a swaddling band around the Earth dissolved, revealing the stars. The Prover proves what the thinker thinks. Here's a fun thought - What if GOD is in control of evolution? What if it's his hobby? What if there is really no conflict between Science and Religion? The scientists cannot disprove the existence of GOD any more than they can prove the Big Bang happened. 

   Albert Einstein saw no conflict between science and religion. Like Galileo, Newton and other immortal greats of science before him, Einstein believed in GOD.

        Therefore, I present to you this idea: Modern Scientific beliefs are based upon a leap of faith in the big bang theory. It has become a belief system based on faith and therefore another form of religion. Scientists, like priests can explain their beliefs but the everyday people accept it all on faith. Scientists and doctors are the priests of this new religion, getting angry and crying "heresy" when anyone respectfully disagrees with them. I once had one of my supervisors in the UT anthropology department explain to me for three hours on a research expedition in mathematical terms how something could have ALWAYS existed, needing no beginning point. When we agreed that the math was good he then made a COLOSSAL leap of faith, saying "This proves the Universe has always existed and there is no GOD." In one second I countered;" I could just as easily jump to the conclusion that this proves the existence of an eternal GOD." It is this "jumping to conclusions" or  as Steven Hawking put it; "making leaps of faith." that infuses philosophy with their physics. Then there is the infusion of politics; a perfect example is 

The Myth of Carbon 14 dating: 

Educated people know that carbon 14 dating is totally irrelevant to the theory of evolution. Scientists never state that carbon 14 dating offers proof for the theory of evolution. Ignorant evolutionists, however, believe carbon 14 dating proves the theory of evolution, and stubbornly make that claim based on faith in what they were told in our learning institutions. They were DELIBERATELY lied to to gain POLITICAL POWER. I will explain; Carbon 14 dating is ONLY reliable for five thousand years as even its creator himself admitted in 1972. Carbon 14 or Radiocarbon Dating was first devised in 1949 by Dr. Willard Libby. It is based on the rate of decay of carbon 14 or its "half-life" of 5730 years. This method offers reliable dates up to 5,000 years ago, but its results require correction since Dr. Libby's belief that the levels of carbon-14 in the atmosphere were identical through the ages has long since been disproved. Volcanoes and floods for example skew the results to the point where guesswork or leaps of faith are required even in dating organic material from historic times. Dr. Libby once expressed his shock when he found that radio carbon dates for human artifacts extended back only 5000 years and older dates were found to be unreliable. [W.F.Libby, `Radiocarbon Dating', (Chicago, 1952), pp. 4-9]  [CRSQ, 1972, 9:3, p. 157] By this time tens of thousands of C-14 dates had been published from tests in laboratories around the world. The textbooks and curriculums have yet to be revised. Instead, a MYTH is being taught in our schools.  There are exciting new methods but wild guesses about the amount of Carbon 14 in the atmosphere do not PROVE anything. Believers in GOD are called foolish and ignorant on the political strength of this deliberate lie that Carbon 14 dating proves evolution.

       The gross disrespect and intolerance I have seen of certain members of the scientific and academic communities and their disciples toward anyone who disagrees with them is just as arrogant and abusive as racial, sexual, religious, or any other kind of prejudice. 

Here's a great example: Around 1910 in educated circles it was considered a mark of ignorance to believe the Biblical record. There was little scientific evidence available then to support the Bible's claims and academic circles decided that was the end of the matter and as the decades moved on, the scientific and academic communities stubbornly ignored tidal waves of new SCIENTIFIC evidence. One excellent example is in what the Bible says about Abraham.  In the early 20th century experts in the field of archaeology insisted that no civilization even existed in UR of the Chaldeans when the Bible records that Abraham lived there. On the basis that no evidence was currently available they declared Abraham a mythical character. 

        20th century evidence however has proven beyond any question the existence of an advanced civilization in UR of the Chaldeans during the 21st and 20th centuries B.C.-That was Abraham's day! Abraham's historicity is also confirmed by ancient inscriptions that bear the names of almost very town mentioned in Ch. 12-14 of Genesis and one even has his father's name. Archeological discoveries also show these towns were in existence until about 2,000 B.C.- but not later! 

No longer can the Bible's critics get away with accusing us of being naive or foolish today when we believe what the Bible says about Abraham like they used to in the 20th century. 

This is critical to the belief systems of the world's great monotheistic religions Islam, Judaism and Christianity who all claim ascendancy from Abraham. Why isn't this commonly taught in schools? Many scientific professionals openly abuse the authority of their positions to push their personal beliefs and ignore the confirmed scientific data to hold on to political power. Other Biblical confirmations from modern Archaeology include: Date and manner of Jericho's fall, The exodus from Egypt, Major characters from the book of Daniel and many others. The SCIENTIFIC proof is all there waiting for you if you take the time to look it up. 

            Certain scientists and academics like to act like they know everything about the origins of the Earth. They don't. Many of our long taught ideas about planetary science have recently been proven completely wrong. Did you know that The Gas Giants on the outside of our solar system and the surface of the Planet Venus are DRASTICALLY different than what I was authoritatively taught about them as a boy in school?  If they can't even tell us reliably how the solar system is today how can we rely on their ideas about its distant unobservable origins? Yet even in the face of constantly changing SCIENTIFIC evidence most scientists are prone to UTTER DOGMATISM about their belief system. Science is supposed to be the sum of the best knowledge we have at the time - incomplete but always learning, always growing- but sometimes making serious mistakes. Why admit things were COMPLETELY wrong about planetary science within the solar system but NEVER MENTION the discovery of the unreliability of Carbon 14 dating or the discovery of archaeological evidence of Abraham being a historical figure? Simple. There is no danger to the foundation of the belief system of this new religion or it's social and political power base. 

         Mankind's only hope for continued survival on this planet is to learn to tolerate each others differences and live in peace with one another and in harmony with the environment. We're all in the same boat...

   I do not believe that scientists should be exempt from this challenge to be tolerant, since they created the very things that could well destroy us, such as thermonuclear weapons & pollution.

We all have a lot of work to do if we are to survive. I write this in defense of my faith and of the faiths of others which have been disparaged by these attacks on the sacred writings of the  world's great religions...If we're going to have a better world we're going to need both better leaders and better citizens.

 I personally believe that any belief in a higher power that must be answered to makes us better citizens than if we believed that we are the ultimate life form in the Universe.

~ H D Johnson 2007

 

 

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Essay and Articles Section:

Philosophy, Art, & Art Philosophy

Personal Opinion Essays on Realism yesterday and today by the artist.

STYLE and TECHNIQUE

Howard David Johnson is an outspoken proponent of mechanical aids to visual art. Unlike the opponents of mechanical aids, his mission is not to prove his talent but to help preserve our vanishing Western cultural heritage. In addition to his mastery of the traditional media, now combines drawing, painting, photography, and digital media with more than thirty years of experience in these fields to create his Realistic Art Numerica in 21st century paintings and pictures. Did you know the Greek word "Photography" means "Painting with Light"? Today with the advent of computers it truly lives up to it's name. Due to developments in Art and Technology, a broader definition of painting is needed than that which is found in common usage. Introducing Art Numerica- an exciting merger of traditional visual art and cutting edge technology... a new art form for the twenty- first century... Art Numerica is not limited to realistic art but also offers limitless horizons for everything from cartoons to abstractions.

It is the most dramatic development in the visual arts since the Renaissance. 

 

 

      There is a school of thought that seems to think that a caveman’s beating on a hollow log with a stick is automatically superior to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony performed by the world’s finest symphony orchestra because less technology is involved. I do not subscribe to this kind of thinking. Personally I LOVE computers! First of all, there’s the freedom from fear! The undo button is empowering and liberating! More importantly, publishing customers can't afford to pay me for old-fashioned traditional methods like oil on canvas. I can do them, and do them well, but no one but millionaire art collectors can afford to pay even poverty level hourly rates for all that time. The masters often took a year for a single painting. With digital media I can create pieces that look very nice for very nice prices and with blazing speed. The publishing industry is not noted for its patience. In the early days of my art career, mailing traditional media originals was scary at best, but now they can be scanned and shipped without risk. Also in my early days adding canvas space to a work in progress was as impossible as growing a second head... but now it is so easy I usually don't even charge extra to adapt them if its just skies or landscapes! Re-dos and revisions were financially catastrophic! No wonder the starving artist became a stereotype! Before the internet, I struggled to find customers in Austin Texas, now nearly every nation on Earth has visited my website! This was beyond my wildest imaginings as a boy. What an amazing era we live in! I love it!!!

~ Howard David Johnson

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST:

Howard David Johnson is a contemporary visual artist and photographer with a background in
the natural sciences and history. He works in a wide variety of media ranging from traditional
oils,  pastels and others to cutting edge digital media. He loves mixing media. This site features
examples of his Realistic Art, including illustration, photography, experimentalism, and fine art

 

 

     The various galleries linked to by the icons above show many examples of His Realistic Art, and are grouped by theme rather than media. Since boyhood he has passionately copied the old masters. Using a strategy employed by J.W. Waterhouse (The old master David has imitated most) - his wistful and graceful models cannot be underestimated in their contribution to the stunning beauty and the potential for lasting appeal of his work. To create his work, he usually starts with a thematic concept, then working in his Photography studio with live models. He then assembles a variety of elements which are realistic and original. As a boy he dedicated his life to art in 1960. From 1965- 1999 he used xeroxes and tracings to make his preliminary photo montages. This is patterned after  the manner used by Maxfield Parrish and other 19th century notables. For this he offers no apology as many of the greatest artists in history employed any and all means of technology at their disposal such as Camera Obscura or even the evil manufactured tube paints. See his article below: "On Art and Technology: When Seeing is Not Believing" An essay dealing with mechanical aids to visual art from Camera Obscura to Computers for more on this. The digital montage is a natural evolution of the preliminary photo collage David learned from great Realistic illustrators like Maxfield Parrish and Norman Rockwell. You'd think by now everything would have been tried but it hasn't. Exploring new art mediums is just as exciting today, just as full of freshness and newness as it ever been.

    His favourite medium for professional work for many years was colored pencil because of the high speed and low expense, and people began expressing difficulty in telling his colored pencil drawing from photographs in the early 1980's. Lately he mostly draws in colored pencil to relax and for personal works. Recently he has come to prefer Oil on canvas and digital media because of the respectability of oils and the flexibility and profitability of digital media. As a commercial illustrator Johnson has not only used the computer to create art but has been involved in the development of computer imaging software for Adobe Photoshop. Working in a realistic style inspired by classic illustrators David is deeply rooted and grounded in the Greco-Roman artistic tradition, Feeling that with realistic art, the human form is the ultimate arena for artistic expression. His lifelong dream came true when his Traditional Realistic Art was exhibited in the British Museum in London England in 1996. Having achieved international acclaim as a traditional visual artist he discovered digital media (Art Numérica) in 1999. Because of his passion for realistic art he elected to embrace it and joyfully be a part of this historic era in the visual arts as a 21st century realistic visual artist.

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Click this image for information about private lessons

 Since 1972 when he began his career as a scientific illustrator for the University of Texas he has earned his living illustrating all kinds of books, magazines, CD covers, and all sorts of games, greeting cards, calendars, portraits, tapestries, murals and the like with his contemporary realistic art... David's Realistic Art has appeared in every major bookstore chain in The United States and has been used in educational texts and magazines all over the world.

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Essay Section:

Philosophy, Art, & Art Philosophy

Personal Opinion Essays on Realism yesterday and today by the artist.

"Those who are enamoured of practice without science are like a pilot who goes into a ship without rudder or compass and never has any certainty where he is going. Practice should always be based upon a sound knowledge of theory, of which perspective is the guide and gateway, and without it nothing can be done well in any kind of painting."

Essay One: "THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME..."

(A Brief essay dealing with attitudes toward Traditional Realistic Paintings, Pastels, Colored Pencils and Art Numérica )

 

 

"Painting, in art, the action of laying colour on a surface, or the representation of objects by this means. Considered one of the fine arts"

~Encyclopaedia Britannica. 

"Painting. noun. 1.) The act or employment of laying on colors or paints. 2.) The art of forming figures or objects in colors on canvas or any other surface, or the art of representing to the eye by means of figures and colors any object; the work of an illustrator or painter. 3.) A picture; a likeness or resemblance in shape or colors. 4.) Colors laid on. 5.) Delineation that raises a vivid image in the mind; as in word painting.

~ Webster's Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language

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Pastel, Acrylics, and Colored Pencils combined

     Snobbism in the arts is nothing new. Some people will tell you that oils are the only valid medium for realistic paintings. That Colored Pencil, Digital, and other Realistic Painting and Drawing Media are not valid  for "real" art. Young artists, Don't let them bother you. Their forerunners used to condemn Pastels before they gained acceptance and called them "crayons" when Johann Alexander Thiele (1685-1752) invented them.  Mercilessly disrespectful  art critics of the time could not stop the Experimentalists no matter how viciously they attacked and derided them. "Crayon-painting" as it was called in England was practiced early on by persecuted pioneers in Switzerland and many other nations. What a debt we owe to these master artists who refused to knuckle under to the pressure of those short-sighted critics during those historic and experimental times. It took until 1870 with the founding of the "Societe` Des Pastellistes" in France that respect came  at last to these heroic & immortal visual artists.

        In England the liberation of the Pastellists from slight regard and undeserved disrespect came with the first exhibition of "The Pastel Society" at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1880. Pastel Painters like Mary Cassat and others from America and other nations forever silenced  the snobs with their masterworks and gained recognition at long last for Thiele's invention as a valid art medium. I am persuaded that history will repeat itself.  Like Pastels, I believe these wonderful new colored pencils and even Digital Realistic Art Media will one day receive the recognition they deserve as powerful mediums of artistic expression just as pastel paintings did. What is your definition of art? Have you thought about it?

Mine is: "anything that makes you feel or think."

     Consider dancing... it can be a little skip in the step or rise to the level of the incomparable Russian Ballet. Did you know that just the materials alone for a single oil painting cost up to a thousand dollars these days? Even paying the artist less than minimum wage no one but the super rich can afford them anymore. Something's got to give. Realistic paintings in oil have been highly prized for centuries and the appeal and following of realistic art is undiminished to this day. Oil paintings featuring Abstract Art and Realistic Art are generally the most treasured form of all the visual art media and with good reason. But snobbish art critics  favoring abstract art have declared  that realistic paintings, or illustrations are not art for a century. With so many representationalist  paintings by so many immortal master artists hanging in the Louvre, the Hermitage, and the British Museum and others I think the disrespect for realistic illustrators that dominated the 20th century is academically ridiculous as well as vain and intolerant, insisting theirs is the only valid opinion. What is your definition of Art? I believe almost any form of human expression can be raised to the level of "high art" especially  visual art and Realistic illustration...

~Dierdre of the Sorrows detail.jpg (59016 bytes)

The detail reveals Realistic art and abstract art combined

       By my own definition of art, which is: "anything that makes you feel or think" most abstract paintings are not "real art" to me personally, because abstract paintings usually neither make me feel or think,  usually focusing obsessively on technique and avoiding any coherent content. I usually draw a complete blank mentally and emotionally when I look at them. In 1979 the Houston Metropolitan Museum of Art displayed a triptych of 3 giant   paintings they paid fifty thousand dollars for-  three blank white canvasses entitled "untitled". Then there was "The incredible new artistic Genius" with an I.Q. of 62 ...Congo the chimpanzee with his gala New York art exhibition...an elaborate prank played on the Snobbish American Art critics about a generation ago by research scientists in the field of primatology. Imagine how upset they were when he created one of his "ingenious masterpieces" right before their eyes.

( My Source for this is the Time Life Science Library volume entitled "The Primates". )

      Art education has been almost completely removed from American Schools as a result of generations of this kind of  fabulous nonsense contributing to America's cultural illiteracy crisis. Now, the works of Leonardo Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, and other notables are being removed from school libraries.  After generations of this, most American college graduates today cannot name even one living visual artist, abstract or realistic.

There is no way that mandating more math, requiring more reading, or scheduling more science will replace what we have lost as a culture.    

What is your definition of Art?

~HDJ

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Note: Abstract Paintings by Congo the Chimpanzee outsold Warhol and Renoir by over 25,000 dollars in June 2005 at a London art auction. Born in 1954, Congo created more than 400 drawings and paintings between the ages of two and four. He died in 1964 of tuberculosis. There is no precedent for this kind of sale.

 

Essay Two : The Rebirth of Realism

More thoughts on realistic art yesterday and today by the artist

Art History has entered a new era with the birth of Art Numérica, or digital art media in the 21st century. Artists never stop exploring with mediums. Artists have been developing techniques, experimenting with different tools since at least twenty- five thousand years ago, when the first artist picked up a charred stick and scratched a picture out on the wall of his cave. You'd think everything would have been tried by now, but it hasn't. Exploring new mediums this very day is just as exciting, just as full of freshness and newness as it ever was.

 

 

   The creation of Realistic art has been the goal of most artists since the dawn of  civilization. Realistic art was the pride of ancient Greece. The world's greatest museums are full of realistic art. Realistic art WAS art until the advent of the abstract expressionist movement in the twentieth century. The coming of the camera in the nineteenth century changed realistic art forever. Suddenly, realistic art was not the only way to create realism in portraits and historical records. The work of the realistic artist was suddenly made into an expensive luxury. The political power of the realistic artist was broken and they were no longer an indispensable member of society. Hostility to the creators of realistic art goes back to ancient times and the jealousy of advisers to the Pharaohs and others who were not able to spend as much time with their rulers as their portraitists.    Although with the aid of photographs, realistic art achieved levels of excellence undreamed of, the realistic art movement of the late nineteenth century was short.  None of these people earning their living creating realistic art could compete with the speed and low cost of photographic portraiture.  Determined to survive, great realistic artists like Pablo Picasso ingeniously turned inward and began to explore things that could not be photographed in a new school of art, abstract expressionism.
  The day of the fine art superstars had arrived. It was now largely just a hobby to abstract and realistic artists alike. Illustration, because of advances in printing technology enabled an elite few to earn a living with their realistic art. These illustrators working in realistic art media  were condemned and ridiculed in much the same way Europe's great symphonic composers were condemned for working in motion pictures after fleeing the nazis during World War Two. The rift between realistic and abstract art grew wider and wider. The universities and key media usually sided with the abstract camp and derided anyone working in any realistic art media declaring boldly that realistic art was not "real" art. Immortal giants of realistic art such as Maxfield Parrish were mistreated their entire lives. They were accused of selling out for creating beautiful pieces of realistic fine art to earn a living. The attitude that the true artist must suffer and starve and die in poverty became a rule. There were the Abstract art superstars, the professional realistic illustrators, and the hobbyists who, although cut off from gainful employment and social influence still recognized their artistic gifts as a calling rather than a profession.

           Early abstract art  masters proved themselves as realistic artists before delving into realms of the intangible. They had to do this at that time to prove themselves because of the challenges they faced from the establishment for going against the status quo. In the latter part of the 20th century, realistic artists like HDJ were challenged to do abstract art to prove themselves as shown in the example above (Deirdre of the sorrows). Later realistic art training was abandoned in most schools and things like splattering paint in fits of rage  were deemed more than enough. By the end of the 20th century something as destructive and ridiculous as nailing a pack of cigarettes to a shoe was considered fine art but not realistic paintings. Fashions in art have often been as silly as fashions in ladies hats.  As the century drew to a close, many people had had enough. The realistic revolt was at hand. The rebirth of realism was fueled by the advent of the digital era. Now, for the first time in almost two centuries, an artist or illustrator could earn a decent living again with his realistic art. This is historic. Realistic art is not going to go away, especially now that photography has truly merged with traditional realistic visual art. Photography comes from the Greek words meaning "painting with light". Now with the advent of digital media the capability of realistic art has become almost limitless, truly, "painting with light". The merger of all the world's art forms to realize the potential of motion pictures has come now to still realistic art media. This website for example, combines music, prose, poetry, photography and traditional realistic art media to create an experience beyond merely looking at realistic paintings.

         The twenty- first century is already seeing a new renaissance in the arts because of the world wide web. There has never been anything like it. Abstract art, computer art, photographic art, and realistic art are continuing to be separate schools of art but are also blending to create exciting new horizons. Although Digital art does offer completely new horizons to the artist in the 21st century it does not mean the end of our time honored art traditions. Instead, it offers additional ways to keep these traditions and schools of thought  fresh and alive. ~ HDJ

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Essay Seven:  NEW!

On Art and Technology: When Seeing is Not Believing

An essay dealing with mechanical aids to visual art from Camera Obscura to Computers

 

  When the camera was finally made commercially available in the 1830's it exploded on the world scene and sent shockwaves through the art world as history had never seen before. Visual artists all over the world were suddenly put out of work and resentment and outrage followed. Suddenly much more realistic portraits could be had at a tiny fraction of the cost of a painting and delivered almost instantly. The art world would never be the same. When motion picture cameras were new, seeing was believing and human consciousness changed forever in the 20th century. Sometimes even Terror and Panic came from the initial shock! In 1905 cinema patrons defecated and urinated in their seats as they broke each other's arms and legs desperately fleeing for their lives from a crowded theater to escape a train charging straight for them! ... train footage filmed safely from a bridge with a camera lowered down on a rope. A modern cinema patron would not even feel uncomfortable. The Photograph and its manipulations have changed human consciousness and history... and will continue to do so in the future.

The Camera has changed everything.

    The Camera of Today owes it's origin to the Camera Obscura, a light- tight box with a lense and a screen that receives an image. This device has been used by artists since ancient times to trace the projected image of whatever they set before it on a screen. Intrigued by the idea of producing a permanent light-formed image instead of reproducing it by hand, a long line of inventors studied the problem and successively made contributions to the solution.

    Photography was neither discovered nor invented by any one man. It was the outcome of the early observations of the alchemists and chemists on the action of light, a subject that belongs strictly to the domain of photochemistry. Although the blackening of silver salts was known in 1565, it was not until 1727, when Johann Heinrich Shulze of Germany used a mixture of silver nitrate and chalk under stenciled letters, that it was definitely recognized that this darkening action was caused by light and not by heat. In the years that followed experiments with silver nitrate on leather and wood were successful. In 1817 J. Nicephore Niepce first tried photography with silver nitrate and paper. In 1826, L.J.M. Daguerre, a painter who had experimented with silver salts approached him and formed a partnership. Daguerre discovered accidentally that that the effect produced by exposing an iodized silver plate in a camera would result in an image if the plate were fumed with mercury vapor. The Daguerreotype process was a complete success. These chemical processes would be improved again and again until the advent of the digital camera we know today.  The attitude that Photography was not art and was a purely mechanical process requiring no talent whatsoever was put forth with great force and hostility in an attempt to get people to refrain from choosing it for their portraits instead of paintings. This is a typical reaction to new technology, when Pastels were first invented they were dismissed as a child’s plaything rather than a viable art medium. These attacks on new technology are not limited to the arts of course. When the Wright brothers were making history at Kitty hawk with the first manned airplane their detractors said: "If man were meant to fly, he'd have been born with wings." This kind of negativity is just human nature to some kinds of people.

Photography came into being through an artistic, not a scientific urge. Daguerre was an artist, a scene painter whose illusionistic diorama was a landmark in Paris long before his name was connected with photography. Critics were merciless as usual, with scathing condemnations of the media. However, in the hands of a sensitive artist, photography quickly showed it's artistic possibilities. David Octavious Hill, a Scottish Painter invented the camera set up and the pose as we know them today in the 1840's and was the first of a new breed of master photographic artists. Photography was here to stay. Diverse forms of retouching techniques followed both by accident and by design and took the medium to new levels of artistic excellence. Now, more than a century and a half later only an uneducated or blindly hateful person would say Photography is not an art form. Of course we've all seen our share of awful pictures with the heads cut off taken by amateur photographers but we've also seen the work of studio masters like the great portrait photographers from Hollywood in the 1930's and forties. Anyone who has tried to create such a sophisticated studio photograph realizes quickly that this is a very difficult art form to master even if a trained orangutan can take a bad snapshot with an instant camera made for children.

The use of Photography as a mechanical aid to traditional oil paintings and other forms of realistic art came right away. This is not surprising since artists had been tracing from Camera Obscura for thousands of years. Famous Myths; Leonardo Da Vinci ( 1452-1519 ) is often credited with the invention of Camera Obscura because he used it for his masterworks during the Renaissance and mentioned it in his notebooks, but this is simply not true. Similarly, Americans are credited with the camera, but it is also not true. Origins: Unlike the camera, the inventor and time of invention of Camera Obscura are unknown. Perhaps a crude form of it was known to the ancient Greeks, but there is no material evidence to substantiate such a point of view. The mathematical precision and perfect anatomy of Greek art combined with their passionate love of science and mathematics is testimony enough for many scholars. The earliest clear description of Camera Obscura occurs in the great optical treatise of the Islamic scientist Al-Hazen who died at Cairo, Egypt in A.D. 1098. His Opticae Thesaurus ( Book of optics ) was rendered into Latin sometime during the 12th or 13th century by an unknown translator. Al- Hazen honestly declares that he himself did not discover it, so we know from this it had to have been masterminded before A.D. 1098.

  Camera obscura is a device for tracing or sketching large objects. It consists of a box painted black inside- a mirror at a 45 degree angle , and a lens, like that used in a photographic camera. An image is thrown on the mirror by the lens and reflected on the screen, where it can be sketched with tracing paper. The Camera Obscura was in general use by newspaper and magazine illustrators until it was replaced by the photographic camera. Make no mistake. Professionals have been using mechanical aids since the first caveman shaman traced his hand out on the wall of his cave. The view finder on the reflex camera is a development from Camera Obscura. Camera obscura, interestingly enough, is Latin for "darkened chamber".

camera obscura diagram.jpg (38992 bytes)

   In the early 1600's the telescope came into use and Camera Obscura spared viewers the harmful effects of gazing directly into the sun. I regret, but that we must acknowledge the fact that almost every art medium throughout the ages has been corrupted. In the 2nd century, the Roman emperor Hadrian had the head of his lunatic predecessor Nero removed from a statue and replaced by that of his favorite. Much later in 1539, Holbein painted a glamorous and flattering portrait of Anne of Cleves for Henry VIII. When the future queen arrived in England, King Henry met the surprisingly less than dazzling and glamorous Anne. His disappointment made history. Our modern society certainly can't claim t he honor nor take the blame of being the first to manipulate art forms.

     By the 21st century instead of the traditional assistants and apprentices, artists employed overhead transparency projectors, opaque projectors, artographs, light tables, slide projectors, color photocopying... and suddenly, computers and image editing software, which brings us to some very compelling controversies regarding these modern imaging technologies and their impact on various media and further changes to human consciousness. For example: The integrity of Photography as evidence in our courts of law stood for many decades until it was shattered by the digital manipulation of photographs and new standards needed to be introduced.  Websites sold peeks at photos of celebrities' heads pasted onto photos of wild women in scandalous poses for all the world to see- but advertised as real celebrity pix. Scandal rocked television and other news media when digitally altered photographs were being passed off as reliable evidence of important news stories...

      On a positive note, no one was threatened by how this technology enabled motion pictures to do epic things they could only dream of before. They were supposed to be make-believe images appearing real! A golden era in special effects cinema ensued. Then, this powerful digital imaging technology, like the camera, fell into the hands of the common man through computer programs like Adobe Photoshop. A new culture of skepticism had abandoned the age old adage; "seeing is believing" Photography has never told the whole truth, just parts of it. Photography is also an art form and therefore rightfully susceptible to creative alterations. In addition, the advancement of digital manipulation technology cannot be undone or halted. I believe that we must recognize that this digital technology exists on a gigantic-scale, and will never go away. Therefore, I suggest that digitally altered photos are distinct from traditional photography, and should be treated as such.

Contrasting views: anti-manipulation advocates’ fear a negative impact of digital manipulation in a court of law, and pro-manipulation advocates say that we must wake up to the fact that for for decades pictures have not been reliable evidence in court and that any good lawyer will attempt to discredit photographic evidence. In response to claims that photos should always tell the truth, the pro-manipulation camp would say that photos have never told the unvarnished truth. A camera shows, and has always only shown, a fraction of reality, and even then what we see is taken out of context or even fabricated. Photography from its onset has been subjected to modifications. In 1839, the Frenchman Louis-Jacques Daguerre patented the daguerreotype, or what could be called the first "picture." Simply explained, the daguerreotype combined the usage of the camera obscura and silver iodide to produce a permanent image on a copper plate. A very exciting innovation, Daguerre boasted of it, "With this technique, without any knowledge of chemistry or physics, one will be able to make in a few minutes the most detailed views" ("Photography"). Almost immediately, the daguerreotype, especially daguerreotype portraits, became immensely popular. Its popularity, of course, can be attributed to its novelty, but also because people believed the daguerreotype produced a more real image than a painting. The general attitude toward the daguerreotype was that it could create images more realistically because there was no artist to interpret and modify it in his own style.

    Opponents of Digital Manipulation insist Photography should always represent the truth, asserting Photography's  first and foremost function is to portray reality. Many assume that photographs have never been manipulated, and that this recent outbreak in digital technology damages the integrity of photography. Without delay, anti-manipulation proponents demanded an end to all "dishonest" photography, as it severely misleads the public. Also, they view digital manipulation as a purely mechanical process, with no talent or skill involved. Furthermore, anti-manipulation proponents fear manipulated photos might acquit murderers or rapists in courts of law. The thought that photography had replaced painting abounded. "As if photography needed to absolve itself from its ‘original sin’--of having brought about the death of painting", a movement known as pictorialism thrived around 1890-1914, the Art Nouveau period. Proponents of pictorialism primarily set out to gain the recognition of photography as an art rather than just a mechanical process. The pictorialists fashioned bizarre and oddly focused images in order to prove photography was indeed a creative art. It was here that such concepts as shading and enhancing during development appeared. Because of these new shadings and angles, it can be said that Art Nouveau saw the dawn of "Photo manipulation." So the manipulation of photography actually began early in the the 20th century.

        In 1982 there was outrage over the manipulation of the Great Pyramids on the cover of National Geographic but the Genie was out of the bottle. There was no going back. In the 1990’s Computer programs like Adobe Photoshop began to be available to the general public. Now, even someone with little or no talent could produce delightful works. On the other hand, sensitive artists could produce masterpieces on a scale undreamed of. It seems clear that using this technology to willfully falsify photographs for slanderous, scandalous, or persuasive ends is morally wrong, but what about using it to create obvious unreality that looks real or Fantastical Realism in art as in pictures of fairies or mythic creatures?

What is realism? Realism in Art and literature has always meant that the artist attempts to represent persons, scenes, things, and facts as they are, life as it is. The word is used in many senses- as opposed to romanticism, to conventionalism, to sentimentalism, to idealism and to imaginative treatment. Sometimes it is a term of praise, and sometimes it is a term of derision. During the 19th and 20th centuries the use of the word realism often implied that the details brought out were of an unpleasant, sordid, obscene, or generally offensive character. Even the greatest illustrators of the day were ridiculed. Realism is commonly applied to a 19th century school of writers and artists; but realism, in it's prime and proper sense, is as old as art and literature themselves, but in the hands of it's most notorious exponents, it quickly degenerated into a connotation of the more sinister features of realism.

     Many 20th century contemporary realists and artists working in the Photo Realism style were trained in an educational system openly hostile or dismissive to Classical realism and art tradition and were only taught the tenets of Abstraction and Expressionism. As a result many of these artists are more akin to the abstract and expressionist schools than the "Classical Realism" of the ancient Greeks, which adored beauty and nature. Contemporary Realism does not embrace the math and design of the Classical school but does not frown on beauty. Photo Realism only strives to look as much like a photograph as possible and sometimes the results are shocking or disturbing. Other times they are mundane and so ordinary as to be boring. They often deliberately decline to select subjects from the natural, beautiful, and harmonious and more especially, depict ugly things and bring out details of an unsavory sort for social and political purposes. The real mission of Photo-realism is not to record everyday life like a Norman Rockwell painting, but to expose the unconscious way we look at and accept photographs.

By the 20th century realism had spread to nearly all nations- realistic elements combined with those of Impressionism, Symbolism, and other movements. Fantastic Realism on the other hand, is born of these movements and tied to them in style and technique, but prefers to explore subjects that are strange or strikingly unusual rather than scenes of everyday life or objects. It is often bizarre in form, conception and appearance and even wondrous in its beauty. Sometimes macabre and grotesque, it is rarely boring like the other forms of Realism in visual art so often are. Fantastic Realism can be completely apart from reality, yet appearing to be quite real. It is versatile in that it can combine with or be a part of the Classical, Contemporary or Photo-realistic schools or stand as a style unique unto itself. I combine elements from all of these schools of Realism and then take it a step further by also combining a wide variety of media from traditional oil paintings to today's cutting edge digital media in my exhibits. Naturally, the darker side human nature shows itself again with condemnation of new schools of expression, and new art media and technology. Like the photographers before them, digital artists wanted the recognition of their work as an art rather than just a mechanical process. Unlike the snapshot camera or an abstract painting, a trained chimp or orangutan cannot do it: it takes the same visionary and eye to hand skills as any traditional art media to do it well.

   Since the times of the ancient Greeks, Art History records a relentless quest for Realism and artistic excellence. The masters of each generation strove to perfect their craft, then passed on the torch of their accumulated knowledge and skill to the next generation.

The accomplishments and technological breakthroughs of one generation have often set new standards of excellence for the next.

~ Howard David Johnson MMIV

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Thank you for visiting the Angel Art gallery of Howard David Johnson

Bibliography:

For more on Angelology and online copies of some of these rare books mentioned visit our sources:

The Talmud and The Q'Ran ~ www.jewishencyclopedia.com and www.sacred-texts.com

The Dead Sea Scrolls and of course - The Holy Bible

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