Beyond Realism

Flowers Aren't Enough Oil 16x20

Flowers Aren’t Enough Oil 16×20

I love to paint people and portraits, but recently I’m trying to push it a bit beyond realism.  I love paintings that have undefined boundaries like the work of Terry Muira, Mia Bergeron and Carolyn Anderson.  There are many others who’s work I admire —but I love the “atmosphere” that’s created.  A likeness for a portrait is essential, but some of the most wonderful people paintings have little to do with that.

So I’m experimenting.  I was pleased with this painting before — when it was a bit crisper, but felt compelled to try to take it somewhere else.  So I started “mushing” and scratching at it.  The image underneath the most recent layers held true so only the last layer could be moved around.  But I like it.  I think it adds to her pensive, sullen mood —hence the name “Flowers Aren’t Enough”.  Our model had good reason to be sad, having recently lost her brother.  She’s one of my favorite models for that very reason.  She doesn’t hide what’s going on with her and as a result we get so much more as painters.

The other way I’m trying to push myself is with a palette knife.  I do quite a bit of my plein air with the knife and more recently pushed into portraits.  It’s a mixed bag. Very frustrating when you do want a likeness. Not sure how that will all pan out. It’s all an attempt to push my paintings beyond realism and hopefully in a direction that is impactful.

All the best!  Happy Painting!


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