Thursday, May 23, 2013

Leticia, oil on canvas board

Sometimes I like to do a grisaille in order to focus on drawing and observation. It gives my eye a chance to rest and get back to the basics of classical realism, which is the foundation of expressionist art.

My most recent painting of Leticia started out as a conventional black and white portrait, but then I stumbled upon the work of Rob Sheridan who, according to his website, creates images by disrupting signals through analog tape and display equipment, not with Photoshop.

As a technophobe, I'm still not sure how he does it, but I do like the abstract effects of glitched images spliced with blank passages, and so I thought I'd try to incorporate some of his ideas into my painting. And so out came the masking tape and palette knives and my portrait morphed from realism into something a lot more abstract.

I could get closer to his concept by straightening some edges and perhaps darkening the grays but I think I'll leave this as is. For a related discussion, click here.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

New Head Studies at the National Academy

I recently did a series of quick head studies in oil from live models. I kept things loose and abstract, combining impasto with smooth passages, but also tried to retain a sense of light and form.

Perhaps I was thinking of British artist Paul Wright, who said:
Whilst I appreciate the importance of the individual being recognisable, [my] subjects are glimpsed rather than exposed, their inner selves hinted at but ultimately inscrutable.... The spaces the subjects inhabit are often indeterminate, providing an atmosphere that allows for ambiguity of psychological state. The subjects retain their integrity and yet a sense of intimacy is evoked.
I think this exploration of formal versus expressive concerns is reflected in the work of many contemporary artists whom I follow, and whose painterly idioms continue to provide inspiration for my own work.