Portrait painting is probably my favourite type of painting. As with other types, I paint from a reference photograph and like the old Impressionists tend to focus on depicting the qualities and contrast of light in the face and features. I have worked using Instagram selfies as a reference in the past, which can be a nightmare to approach when dealing with facial distortion and flash blow out but can also be an interesting way of revealing clues to someone’s personality. It almost gives the subject control over how they want to be seen by the world. When I paint from photographs, I never approach my subject from the perspective of achieving photo realism. Whilst I do place an importance on likeness, the main challenge for me is to capture the essence of a person’s character through their expression, the use of colour and interaction with space. I enjoy capturing subtlety of mood and emotion in portraits. Here are some examples of some of my portrait commission work:
Historically, genre art was developed in the Netherlands in the 16th and 17th centuries referring to works illustrating mundane scenes from day-to-day life. In contemporary art today, genre painting has become more diverse and interesting with many artists striving to go beyond the obvious and depict these scenes from everyday life in unique and imaginative ways. My approach to genre painting is to depict images mainly from my own candid photography, which have a personal narrative behind them but most of all, that express the beauty of everyday life.
Still Life painting is not an area of art that I approach very often, mainly because I paint from photographs. In my opinion, the source of life and strength from this type of painting comes from painting directly from your objects with a 3-dimensional perspective. Having said that, there are times that I have been able to capture objects in photographs with a particularly striking lighting or mood.