Portrait of a Redheaded Flapper – sold

portrait painting of beautiful redhead woman flapper girl

Oil on canvas, 10″x8″

This is a portrait of a lovely redhead flapper girl. She manages the rare feat of being sweet and sultry at the same time. From her finger waved hair and Cupid’s Bow lips to her pretty ruffled blouse, she looks elegantly vintage and ready for high tea. As I painted her she seemed so charming and fresh that I used a spring green background to complement her peachy tones.

I’ve enjoyed painting these portraits of flappers inspired by old black and white photos of silent film stars, The source material is usually somewhat vague and lacking in detail which is normally not ideal for portrait painting but that helps me to be more creative in my interpretation. The images give me a starting point to convey distinct moods and emotions and the feeling of the era.

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Portrait of Duncan Grant – sold

port6

Oil on canvas, 10″x8″

This is a portrait of Duncan Grant (1885-1978), who was a British artist and central figure in the Bloomsbury Group. I’ve always been a fan of his and that whole artsy, wild Bloomsbury group. They seemed to live exactly as they chose and defied quite a lot of conventions. Duncan was openly gay and loved by many, including the economist John Maynard Keynes and artist Vanessa Bell (Virginia Woolf’s sister) who bore him a daughter and with whom he lived for 40 years until her death in 1961. I tried to capture something of his dreamy beauty, inspired by an old black and white photo and some of his own self-portraits.

I painted this using very traditional portrait methods in layers of glazes over a monochromatic underpainting. This technique creates a great deal of depth although it can also create some variance in the surface gloss as is often seen in antique “ancestor portraits”. I liked how this effect added to a vintage look although it made the painting quite difficult to photograph.

 

 

Portrait of Renée Perle – sold

reneescan

Oil on canvas, 10″x8″

This is a portrait of Renée Perle, inspired by a black and white photo taken by Jacques-Henri Lartigue in 1930. She was an early muse of his and possibly something of an obsession during their two year affair. Renée Perle was a model for the couturier Doeuillet at the time of their meeting, remarkable for her exotic beauty and avant-garde style which looks fresh even today. I wanted to give bold color to that sun-soaked, carefree era in the Riviera and capture something of this lovely woman’s unique charm so I portrayed her deeply tanned in white and linen against a teal-tinged wall of Mediterranean Blue.

Prints of this painting are available here

 

Young Man with Blue Eyes – sold

mattscan (3)

Oil on canvas, 10″x8″

This is a portrait study of a beautiful dark haired man with pale skin and vivid blue eyes. He’s got a timeless, arresting look about him. I played up the high contrast in his coloring and captured the shimmering quality of the skin highlights. I kept the edges sharp and surrounded him with the color of cool air, the palest yellow-tinged turquoise. The effect is intensely lifelike and rather mesmerizing.

I’m always trying to achieve a certain realism in my paintings while also creating a sense of mood and an inner life. This painting really got there for me, like having someone fascinating in the room and I was happy that others felt that energy too. I was excited that it sold quickly but sad to see him go at the same time.

Portrait Study of a Young Woman – sold

vanessacam (2)

Oil on canvas, 12″x9″

In this study I wanted to work on a classic portrait while exploring cool skin tones and looser brushwork. I also wanted to change things up a bit from my more stylized portraits based on black and white photos of ladies from long ago. I found some lovely violets and blues in this portrait of a beautiful dark haired girl with almost translucent skin. The result is a contemporary realist portrait with a lively surface quality and casual elegance.

When I look at my work in retrospect I realize that I favor painting faces and figures but I don’t always have the most consistent style. This is considered a bad thing in the art world but I draw upon different inspirations and get bored painting the same way over and over. It would be nice to have a distinct and recognizable look. I’m hopeful a strong visual identity will emerge in time even if I don’t exactly know how that happens.

Persephone – sold

persephone (2)

Oil on canvas, 12″x9″

I was thinking of Persephone, the goddess of spring when I painted this. Winter is only just beginning here, the trees are bare but I’m already dreaming of fresh unfurling leaves and tender budding flowers. There’s something both old-fashioned and modern about this portrait, hints of flower-crowned festival girls, June brides and Pre-Raphaelite beauties.

Blue Moon – sold

 

bluemoon

Oil on canvas, 10″x8″

This painting was inspired by loss and memories, grief and ultimately joy. It’s a portrait of fragility and strength. In studying faces I have found that there is an odd power in openness and vulnerability. It can connect us to the essence of our humanity.

 

Lost Generation – sold

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Oil on canvas, 10″x8″

A portrait of a moody flapper in a cafe. I experimented with using cooler, bluer colors than usual for the flesh tones in this painting. I wanted to imply her ghostly pallor and the smoky haze of a bar back in the day.

Perhaps she’s waiting for a date who’s late or thinking about the boy who never came back from the war. Or maybe she’s just wondering what she lost in herself and how she ended up here. I’ve always been fascinated by the Lost Generation, the seemingly dissolute and world-weary survivors of the Great War who partied their way through Europe in the 1920s. This girl could be Lady Brett Ashley or Nicole Diver, those enigmatic and compelling characters created by Hemingway and Fitzgerald, the feminine personifications of that confused, hedonistic era. These memorable women weren’t the most admirable in literature but the flawless seldom haunt.

Portrait of a French Girl – sold

frenchgirl

Oil on hardboard panel, 8″x6″

This is another of my portraits of imaginary people from the past. Don’t ask me why she’s French, that just seemed to come to mind as I was painting her. She was a difficult girl to paint, elusive, challenging, different. The paint didn’t want to stay where I put it on the board but it created some interesting effects. She was painted in one very long session and the slippery quality of the paint made the brushwork rather distinct. It’s an unusual look but I decided to go with it. The colors didn’t blend quite like I’m used to but it retained a fresh, wet appearance even after drying.

As she emerged from the chaos of the painting she brought to mind smokey Parisian cafes, red wine and existentialist conversations. Mysterious, with a hint of deep passions, I could imagine a girl like this holding the attention of the Lost Generation.

Portrait of a Glamour Girl – sold

glamgirl

Oil on canvas, 10″x8″

Some things never go out of style. A certain sleek elegance was achieved in the the early 20th century that’s simply timeless. She is not any particular person, but my evocation of the glamour girl of that era, beautiful, classic and charming.