Archive for the ‘Portrait Artists’ Category

Oil portrait artists – adding new meaning

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

Portrait by MichelangeloPortrait paintings have been known to have their roots ever since prehistoric times. However most of the works of those times do not exist today. Oil paint was the most common material used in those days and was used to depict realism more accurately. Oil portrait artists were in great demand and one of the greatest painters of all time remains Claude Monet and Van Gogh, among other greats like Da Vinci, Michelangelo and many more.

Adding a new meaning

Most oil painters (especially the famous ones) have become so because of their ability to add a deeper layer of meaning to a superficial object. It could be something as simple as a flower or a tree and yet it acts as an object of symbolism. In fact if you compare the oil portraitists of olden times with the modern artists, the depth of the painting is lost today. Today, modern oil painting artists need to showcase the personality and strength of an individual in their portraits, rather than just depict reality. Reality can in any case be showcased with a photograph and the reason people turn to oil portrait artists is because of the warmth and personal touch their works exude. Therefore, it’s important to reinforce the feelings and positive character of the subject in the painting to recapture the lost splendor of earlier works of art.

Charcoal artist – inspiration

Monday, January 28th, 2008

Charcoal portrait Da VinciCharcoal artists can take their inspiration from virtually any object of everyday life. It could be the outdoor landscapes, a person or an inanimate object like a book or a cupboard. It could even be an emotion like anger, love, respect which then take a certain definite form and get transmitted onto paper. Some may consider this medium as a limitation given the fact that no color can be used. However portrait artists who have regularly been using charcoal love the wide variations in tonality that it provides. Right from depicting deep lines on an old man’s face, to the numerous impressions on the bark of an old tree – the possibilities in variation are virtually limitless. With practice many portraitist have found that this medium actually lends itself much better. The numerous possibilities in shading and shadow effect can create a final painting which has mystery and charm in it. In fact, black and white paintings can stir more emotion than a color painting.

The emotional appeal of a portrait

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

Self Portrait Van GoghAny good painting serves to stir emotions in the heart of the onlooker. It induces the person to keep looking at the portrait to find hidden layers of meaning. In fact most great portrayers of the olden times have created masterpieces which shocked and appalled people at the time. Yet today they are considered their best works till date. Also the fact of whether an oil painting is good or bad is a personal and subjective matter. It is beyond the structure, rules of good painting and techniques. Great oil painters have been able to wield a certain primal quality in their paintings which touch our hearts – till this day. Consider Van Gogh’s personal portraits of his own self. The expression on the face isn’t just a representation of the facial features but a deeper, more profound interpretation of his emotions at that stage of his life. Some of the best oil portrait artists have been able to successfully capture, anguish, ecstasy and grief in a single painting!

Charcoal portraits

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

Charcoal portrait

There is something intensely stark and realistic about black and white sketches. Charcoal paintings are all about shading, 3 dimensional effects and hidden meaning. Most portrait artists have experimented with this form of art at some stage or the other.

Most charcoal artists use three predominant forms of the material – vine (which is prepared by burning wooden sticks), compressed (where the powder is blended with gum binder), as well as the powdered form. Many good portrayers will choose charcoal over pencil. It’s because charcoal is finer, more lustrous and velvety and can be blended much easier.

The flexibility of charcoal

One of the best things about charcoal as a drawing material is its spontaneity and sensitivity. It has the ability to draw out fluid as well as bold lines while also producing vast arrays of texture and shading. This is one reason why this medium is one of the least inhibiting. For example, if the portraitist is looking at a colorful flower, the first thing he would do is to visualize the outline of the flower. He would also pick out the contours and shades in the petals and other parts of the flower. Thus even though the final painting would be without color, the portrayer tries to infuse great amount of depth and dimension into the structure. In terms of visualization, the flower could symbolize anything from new meaning in life, to an abstract concept. This then gets reinforced into the final painting.

Oil Portrait – Mona Lisa

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008


Portrait Mona LisaThe Renaissance period proved to be a turning point of sorts for oil portrayers of the time. Based on a natural curiosity for nature and the classical Greek and Roman life – portraits of those times were greatly admired and encouraged. Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa painting was one of the most outstanding works of this period. It represents the face of an unknown woman who is smiling. However, there has been considerable debate as to the gender of the subject – because many of the features indicate a synergy between masculine and feminine. It is this subtlety and minute nuances which differentiated the great oil portraitists from the more mediocre ones. In fact it is said that no matter which angle you look at the painting, the Mona Lisa always keeps looking at you.

Modern portrait artists (Cubism)

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

Modern portrait Cubism

Portrait artists create portrait paintings while drawing inspiration from real life objects and persons around them. However, what adds to their significance is the ability to extend and twist common aspects of regular life. Most of the time, such painters tend to depict a painting based on their own interpretation of a particular subject. So while the muse maybe a woman with a mandolin, the outcome of the portrait maybe very different. In the final painted portrait, aspects which traditionally were the most valued aspects of the portrait, such as the facial expression of the woman being portrayed, may be the least important part of a modern portrait. It all depends on the personal perspective of the artist.

A good example of this is Picasso’s woman with mandolin, painted in 1910. Traditional artists depict objects & people from one viewpoint. Cubist artists paint objects & people from different perspectives to represent them from different angles. Cubist artists first analyze the subject. Afterwards they break it up and re-assemble it in an abstract form. This way, the subject can be viewed from different perspectives.

Creativity in Portrait Painting

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

Any artist who starts off painting a particular subject will try and look beyond the ordinary. The mere form and shape of the subject is something that any photograph will capture very well. What makes art truly outstanding is its ability to transcend traditional boundaries. That’s why you find the Mona Lisa having the blended features of a male and female, or The Last Supper having a sense of mystery and suspense looming in the air around.

Creative Painting

The extent of an artist’s creativity depends on the degree of non-adherence to standard boundaries. For example, the subject of a painting could be the face of a woman. An artist, by looking at the subject in a different light, is able to capture in the final painting a dimension which goes beyond what one could see by simply looking at the face of the woman. Though the painting, the artist can express the woman’s thoughts, her dreams, her illusions, the feelings that arise in her heart and many other matters.

For example, the painting of this woman transmits to me a man thinking or dreaming about his beloved woman, who is no longer there. The blurred painting transmits to me that the woman is not real, that she is not there. She is in somebody’s mind so she could be a thought or a dream. It is a close up portrait, so that means that the woman is or has been very close to the man. Her melancholic look and the choice of the colors used by the artists transmit to me the mood of the person (probably the artist) who is thinking of her. He misses her very much.

This is what the artist transmits to me with this painting. Others will see other matters. An artist will use different techniques to portray what he or she wants. His/her success will be measured, to a great extent, on how the portrait effectively transmits his/her feelings to the observer and what kinds of feelings arise in the audience.


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