I have been fortunate enough, through the medium of art. To make friends with some very talented artists. Most of these connections have been made via the watercolour website Purewatercolour.com
So I thought it would be nice to feature a selection of the artists from that site, to showcase the talent and individuality that is achievable in watercolour painting.
Todays featured artist is RobertF, based in Las Vegas in the USA, Robert uses watercolour to express the emotions and characteristics of the subjects he paints. I asked Robert a few questions regarding his art work and below is a transcript of that conversation:
Do you have a favourite artist from the past?
I would say that the artist I like most from the past is Rembrandt. I find that the realism he displays in his portraits is phenomenal and the use of dark backgrounds to emphasise the subject really appeals to me.
Roughly how long have you painted portraits?
I have been creating art since I was a child, but I have only really been focussing on portraiture for the last three years.
What other types of painting do you like to paint?
I don’t really have a preference over the subjects that I paint, but I like to produce paintings that evoke, thought, meaning and contemplation within the viewer. People doing ordinary tasks interest me and I hope to paint more of that.
Would you say then that emotion and character play more of a role in your art than realism?
Most definitely, I would agree with that. Realism is for photography. Art should tell a story or evoke an emotion. was taught to follow my eye movement. Architecture and buildings can and should tell a story, they can say things like “Here is the entrance” or even lead you on a journey when walking through. This can be achieved by light, shapes, perspective, and colour. I attempt to apply this technique and style to my paintings but I find it also applies to portraits.
Which two colours would you choose to paint if you had to select two?
Red and Blue. Both have a wonderful range of tones. I like a high level of contrast within paintings and I think that by combining Red and Blue, both in their singular state and from mixing them a pleasing dark hue could be achieved. The third primary, Yellow, can be represented by the white of the paper. With these two colours I can mix dark tones, mid tones and light tones and also use the white of the paper.
Do you have a preference of subject when you paint a portrait?
I tend to paint older males the most, I personally find that they have lots of character in their faces and in a way their faces tell the story of their lives. I tend not to paint younger persons portraits as I don’t consider myself to be very good at blending colours to replicate the smooth and unblemished skin tones that are so prevalent in younger portrait studies.
Do you have any advice for some one starting out in portraiture?
That’s a difficult question to answer, I think I would firstly ask the person what they wanted to capture most within the portrait, such as realism or emotion etc. Then once they have a clearer understanding of the goal they are trying to achieve, I would emphasise the importance of accurate sketching and drawing. In order to paint a successful portrait, the initial sketches are so important.
Do you have an example you can share with us of a portrait you painted and the reasons behind the way you painted it?
With this portrait, I wanted to try and capture a few things. I wanted to try and make the viewer see the energy coursing through the subject, going from his hand, through his face and then through his body.
I tried to achieve this show of energy through the lack of colour within the painting and also the minimalistic way that I painted the face to achieve the eye movement across the piece and thus relay the emotion I was trying to capture.
Many thanks to Robert for taking the time out of his busy schedule to chat to me about his portraits and the techniques he uses in the creation of each portrait. Below is a gallery of Roberts works :