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.
First to feature is RobertF, based in Las Vegas in the USA, Robert uses watercolour to express the emotions and characteristics of the subject 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. I do like painting people doing things and this is an area I would like to expand on in the future.
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. I do wish that my paintings were “less real”. My career was in architecture and I find that from the training I received in becoming an architect, I was taught to follow my eye movement when I draw or paint. I use this technique in my paintings to try and achieve a simplification of the scene that focuses on the viewers eye movement across the scene.
Which two colours would you choose to paint if you had too select two?
Red and Blue, 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 contrast ratio could be achieved. Yellow could be replaced and represented by the white of the paper. I personally feel that there is far too much green in the world already, so I will not miss having yellow in my life. That is also one of the reasons that I am not keen on painting landscapes.
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 :