Figurative Art Portrait Art Feature
In March 2017 artGuide featured artists from North Carolina, artists from Virginia in a beautiful print segment featuring Figurative Art and Portrait Art. Artists discussed their processes and their influences, as well as featured their Figurative Art and Portrait Art.
Light, tone, color, and carefully crafted lines all summarize the existential creation and appreciation of Figurative Art and Portrait Art. The Tate Museum in London describes Figurative Art as “any form of modern art that retains strong references to the real world and particularly to the human figure”. Many think of Figurative Art as a form of Realism. However on closer glance the paintings and styles of Figurative Art and in many cases Portrait Art seek to establish a future understanding of their subjects than mere mirror images of their external selves.
This capably captures the essence of modern Figurative Art. Instead of simply capturing their subjects as realists on paper or canvas, modern Figurative painters and Portrait painters seek to capture and evoke the inner “presence... their truth, their beauty, their goodness that I can see when someone is quiet in front of you for so long” says Kelly Oakes whose beautiful use of light captures the “in-thought” calmness of her subject in Determined which is featured in the following pages.
Annell Metzger sums up what she seeks to capture by stating, “In my portrait and figurative work my goal is to create an image that evokes the soul of my subjects and portrays mood and emotion visually.” Her artworks are symbiotic of the right “pose”. In the following pages her work, Another Time, Another Place, captures the seductive, mysterious posturing of her subject - using beautiful tones and light with a faint semi modern expressionist layer to frame the subject.
One of the truly appreciative aspects of Figurative and Portrait Art is the elemental, micro-managerial nature of technique that is used to create and develop the above mentioned expose of internal and emotional assemblages on canvas.
“The challenge for me is to interpret the subjects’ story using impressionistic techniques starting with abstract shapes of light and dark, rendering, brushwork and lost and found edges where not every detail is explained, yet ironically conveys more attitude and impact than the reference material.” says Nicole Kennedy, who uses her distinct impressionist style to capture the subdued tones and attitudes of her subjects. Her painting Captain Tom, which is featured in the following pages, showcases her masterful brushwork mixed with distinct color and tonal edges to convey the presence and intimacy of her subject.
Renee Crawford states, “...one of the most important aspects of capturing mood and emotion in a painting is the play of light.” One of her collectors once commented, “’All that is fine and good, but I’m really just preoccupied with the way the light is falling on her cheek.’ He was experiencing an emotional connection with the work – the play of light was drawing him in and making him want to linger on the painting.” Above these words, Crawford’s painting Grace, with its soft use of lights is an example of how light can be used to instill the peaceful ambiance of the subject.
In her painting Jackson, featured in the following pages, Catherine Martin states, “the emotional connection is made through my bright, bold colors and brushstrokes.” Indeed, Martin’s use of long, bold brushstrokes with distinct color and tonal differences frames the subject’s emotional tenor and extracts the subject’s consciousness.
Figurative and Portrait Art can be said to be one of the most challenging and rewarding visual arts genres. The technical prowess of Figurative and Portrait artists bring to life the subjects that they feature. The eternal quest to accentuate the emotional subtleties of our brethren on canvas is an art form of interlocking the creative self of the artist with the emotional self of the subject. This interlocking is what allow us as patrons to enjoy and appreciate this subtle, yet dramatic art form.