• Portraits in Oil
  • Portraits in Oil
  • Portraits in Oil

Portraits in Oil

The beauty and mystery of Nature are at the core of my work. Whether working en plein air or in the studio, I am aware of the connection between art, spirit, and life. My focus is on color. I create visual brilliance by allowing the drama of light and color to shape my compositions while I experiment with color placement and color relationships. I begin with a sketch on prepared hardboard panels, and I apply the first layer of paint with brushes, creating a cohesive value study under-painting that serves as a value skeleton for successive applications of color. With a palette knife I apply one layer of paint at a time, while also scraping paint away, letting each layer dry between applications. I work toward a smooth finish on my surfaces, yet I want them to visually appear textured. Each layer of color is allowed to show through in the finished piece. I use the same process with pastels without scraping color away.

In my portrait oil paintings I crop the face closely with little or no background, often excluding the top of the head, hair, parts of chins, ears. I focus on the language of the eyes and the emotion they show. Sometimes the eyes pose a question or cause one to wonder what is being seen, thought, felt, or said. I love a deep, direct gaze. As I add and subtract paint, this process takes me out of time and deep within. It is there that I discover some part of myself within the intimate landscape of the other. This is the discovery that holds me captivated. Here I find glimpses of spirit within where any feelings of being separate fade into a sense of connection.

I find the same mystery and self-discovery while painting the landscape, and most always work en plain air so I can experience a connection with the spirit of the land. It is this process, this inner journey that speaks to me. As I recreate Nature’s beauty and mystery, I too, am recreated.

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Night-scapes, Harlem New York
A moment in time

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