When I was mostly a writer, I was only interested in writing non-fiction. Making real connections between events I saw or read about was endlessly fascinating. It mattered more to me that what I wrote about actually happened. Fiction writers might say that all writing, including fiction, is based on real human emotions and experiences so at the essence are all real. And even non-fiction can stretch the truth as it transforms a story into art. Since memory is always suspect, so how can we know that what we write or draw or paint is accurate? We can't know so in that sense maybe all art or expression is imagined.
But when I paint images of ancient sites in my current series, it is crucial to me that the places are real, and that other people have visited them and know about them. And that people will be inspired to visit them after seeing the paintings. And that their perceptions of the places will be changed through seeing my perspective. It is even more meaningful to imagine the people who planned and built them thousands of years ago. I wonder about their lives and their relationship to the land. So even though I make the stones red, pink, blue, yellow, green, the sites are recognizable.
I wonder how typical I am. Why do artists of any media replicate what they see? If you do that, why? What keeps you interested? Do you wish to be more or less representational?