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

 

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The Wood Nymph – sold

nymph (3)

Oil on canvas, 12″x9″

This is my version of a Pre-Raphaelite wood nymph. She’s an ethereal, enchanted creature who wanders unscathed through misty woods in a diaphanous gown. Bedecked with a floral crown and clusters of violets in her flowing locks, she seems a bit wary and ready to take flight.

Inspired by the fanciful art of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, in particular the later work of John William Waterhouse, I kept this painting delicate and impressionistic. I like the effect of the silvery light and the soft brushwork which allows the figure to merge with her natural surroundings. I enjoyed painting this figure within the natural scene and how it hints at a story. This is a theme I may explore further in future.

The original painting is sold but fine art prints in various forms are available here

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

Scan_20160506 (6)

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.

Reclining Nude in Bed – sold

nudeinbed

oil on canvasboard, 5″x7″

This figure study captures the direction and movement of morning light on a reclining nude. I don’t normally crop figures this way but I like how it emphasizes the angles and shapes. I also enjoyed observing the light and shadows both on the figure and in the light and dark areas of the bed and background. I like how it turned out. I think the closer focus on the figure allows for more detail at the same time it creates bolder shapes which gives this small painting great presence.

 

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.

 

 

Flapper in a Cloche Hat – sold

browncloche

Oil on hardboard panel, 8″x6″

There is a certain intensity to this girl. She’s a bit fierce. This may be a result of the slickness of the board surface that results in the paint strokes keeping a certain edge. This makes for a bold look that’s a bit different from my work on canvas. I’m not sure I have complete control of the paint on this surface yet but I like some of the accidental results.

Flappers tended to be dramatic. They were in rebellion against traditional rules of modesty for women, wore a lot of makeup and clothing that scandalized the polite society of their era…this is why I find them to be a fascinating subject for paintings.