I highly recommend Galen Rowell's book 'Inner Game of Outdoor Photography'.
He raises some really interesting ideas. One is how we see, vs how the camera sees. Another is how to portray what we see, to others.
So, I have been pondering this largely right brain question all day. Being a right brain question, it is exceedingly difficult for me to find the correct language to portray it. But here goes. . .
The image we paint, with a brush or with light (photography), is an illusion. What we see on the paper or on canvas is not real. (One can, of course, now ask the question - but how real is what we THINK we see 'out there' in the 'real world'. But that is another subject.)
A painting or a photo is but a facsimile of the real thing.
In order to create an illusion that the viewer will perceive as real, we only need to fire enough neurons for the viewer to BELIEVE they recognise the reality behind the illusion.
As less is more, then the less we put in, the more remains for the viewer's imagination to image-in the image in their own way.
Let me say that again. Less is more. Therefore, the less you 'add' to a 'painting', the more the viewer has to use their own imagination to fill in the blanks. This creates an emotional tension that engages the viewer.
So, I wish to open a debate.
How, as artists, can we effectively create illusions that hint at reality without actually painting in the facts to the point that nothing is left to the imagination?
Frank Dorhoff does a great job of creating illusion. How can we find our own style of 'illusion making' without being copy cats of another's work?
We may admire other artists, but we need to find our own artistic voice. This is a real journey of discovery for me, and I guess many artists.