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.

Man Sleeping in Morning Light – sold

bedscan2

Oil on canvas, 12″x9″

This painting is a study of a sleeping man in a room with light pouring in, highlighting his back and the sheets on the bed. I wanted to present the warm colors of the body in contrast to the pale aqua tints of the surrounding room. I kept the brushwork quite loose and painterly while maintaining a high degree of realism.

I like the peaceful atmosphere of these sleeping male figure studies. I’m always trying to create a mood in my work and I feel like I captured calm and quiet in this one.

Fine quality prints of this painting are now 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.

Man Sleeping – sold

sleeperadjOil on Canvas, 10″x8″

This painting is a study in serenity and light movement. I wanted to explore cool flesh tones with soft light and edges. There’s something very calming about a sleeping figure and this is highlighted by the quiet shades of blue throughout. I’ve seen many paintings with sleeping female nudes but I wanted to feature a man instead. It’s an unusual context that gives a vulnerable and tender aspect to the masculine form.

Upon reflection I think that’s what I wanted to capture. That moment of peace. There is no guile or malice in a man asleep. He is free of his conscious torments, childlike and pure. Sleep is a wonderful thing that I rarely get enough of and I like to celebrate these simple, precious things in life.

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 Dance Hall Girl – sold

dancehall

Oil on hardboard panel, 8″x6″

This painting is another in a series of what I think of as “creative portraits”. They aren’t any existing person but are usually inspired by old B&W photos and stories of the past. They start to take on a life of their own as I paint and become about an imaginary character and mood.

This girl reminded me of the taxi-dance girls in the dance halls of the 1920s and 30s. Paid a dime a dance, it was a somewhat scandalous yet relatively lucrative profession for young women in an era where opportunities were limited. I think anyone who was able to make a living that way had to be tough yet charming. This girl looks like she’s got a lot of spunk and wouldn’t take any nonsense from drunken louts.

Portrait of a Blonde Flapper – sold

daisy

Oil on canvas, 10″x8″

Although she’s decidedly a girl of the 1920s, while painting this one she started to remind me a bit of Botticelli’s Madonnas. The Cestello Annunciation in particular…maybe something about her golden hair and sweet but uncertain expression. So I went with a hint of Renaissance colors in the coral red of her outfit and the faded blue of the background.