10th Artist Review Terry Stirckland

Receiving her degree from the University of Central Florida, Terry Strickland has come a long way to become a successful full time painter. She once was an illustrator, teacher, a courtroom artist, and silk screen artist. Her media of choice is oil on canvas, and she loves working with figures. Much of her work surrounds the concepts of love, death, and inspiration. She finds her own inspiration for many of her paintings in old wise tales, fairy tales, and even superheroes. She likes to take these mythical fictional characters and place them in our modern day life. The characters she creates reflect to us how to handle certain situations, and the concept that one should never take life too seriously.

   Strickland loves to work with photo-realism. In many cases she uses high contrast to illuminate certain features on her figures. My favorite collection out of all of her works is her series entitled “Fairy Tales, Myths, Legends and Literature. She touches on a series of goddesses that are associated with various forms on the earth. Including air (Cardea), water (Tethys), earth (Gaea ), and fire (Hestia).

     One work I find really impressive is her piece “Like Breath on Glass”. This piece really showcases Strickland’s talents in my eyes. It’s so difficult to pull of creating the illusion of glass in a painting however, Strickland did a fantastic job. She also was able to create reflections in the glass to make it seem even more realistic. The color scheme of this piece is very cool, resonating as a cold winter day in which this girl is traveling. In this painting a teenage young girl seems to be daydreaming.  To me this piece reflects the delusional spell love can cast on us all when our minds wander. It’s such a simple piece that anyone can relate to it and, create their own interpretation. That’s one thing I really respect about all of Strickland’s works, even if they may represent a well known fairytale, or character, you can interpret them in any way you like. In Strickland’s eyes she takes our well known superheroes and throws them into our everyday life.

I’ve enjoyed reading through some of Strickland’s blog posts that she tries to keep up with on a regular basis. At the moment, it seems as though she is getting prepared to exhibit two of her works “The flight plan” and, “Enlightenment” in the Miller Gallery showcasing contemporary realist art. She mainly updates her fans on where her work is exhibiting however, from time to time she does incorporate what she’s been teaching, and working on into her blog. In her one of her more recent blog posts she discusses how others label her as an artist. It seems people believe her to be a romantic realist. And much to her disagreement, I would have to agree. She illuminates her figures to make them almost an idealized version of themselves. They have no skin imperfections, and are beautifully lit in every painting. She really does turn the world into her own fairy tale while, still keeping it set in a modern day scene. I’m not quite sure how she’s been able to accomplish this but, I’m sure its taken her years of experience to create the works she does today.

    Aside from Terry’s paintings the one thing that inspired me about her came from her blog. It’s nice to realize all the posting, and artists reviews we’ve been doing this summer isn’t too unlike some of our favorite artists. I’ve realized blogging is a great way to update others, and receive inspiration for your own work. For Strickland it seems like her art diary and, she’s inspired me to start a new one myself in the future. It’s also a great way to keep up with what you’ve been doing and literally see the days you’ve progressed with your work. 

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9th Artist Review Olga Gouskova

Olga Gouskova  is a contemporary figure artist currently centered in Bruges. She was born in Moscow, Russia in July of 1974. She attended school in Russia at the Byelorussian Academy of Arts, and Design from 1992-1996. She developed a very unique style combining both illustration, and painting.  She begins with a technical drawing of the figure with a sepia pen focusing on the form of the figure, then  she douses the background in brightly colored acrylic paint. To finish off her works she exaggerates certain areas with pen marks to add to the illustrative quality of the work. Her works typically focus on nude or partially nude females only revealing certain body parts to the viewer. She desires to examine the figures emotions, memories, and allude a sort of mysteriousness about them. She loves to emphasize the femininity of the female form, and the delicacy of these women. Many of her figures look the viewer straight on, almost as if their inviting the viewer to gaze at their beauty.

  Gouskova loves creating very soft, and gentle skin tones while contrasting them with the harsh illustrative lines that outline the figures, and the background. She places her figures in a dynamic composition, and surrounds them with simple objects such as flowers, berries, and even in some cases masks. She balances out her composition with the female figure usually taking up most of the page and, placing a few props off to the side as if the figure just happened upon them as she was modeling for Gouskova. When it comes to color schemes Gouskova creates works with harmonious hues, and chromas. Rarely does she delve into creating harsh high contrast pieces. Most of her colors consist of warm orange, red, and yellow tones.

  I think what I find most inspiring about Gouskova’s work is how simple her pieces are. She can rely on her technical skill, and relaxed palette to create intriguing, and comforting works. She stylizes the figure’s hair beautifully. Swirling it, and tossing it to the wind with her bold line work. Her combination of flat color in the background with shading of the figure’s skin creates such a unique contrast that in most pieces would work against the artist. However, it’s obvious that Gouskova’s experimentation has paid off and she has found a style that works wonderfully throughout her works.

  One of my favorite pieces of hers would have to be the work, “Pearl”. In this piece the figure is strewn diagonally across the canvas gently brushing her hand over her forehead, and across her chest. The color  scheme for this piece consists of warm tones such as reds, yellows, and oranges. The figure is posed in a very seductive manner. Her dress is inching off of her shoulders, and her eyes lock with the viewer drawing them in. Gouskova creates a very realistic portrait of the figure, while still placing her own spin on the piece. She adds small dark details of flowers throughout the background of the piece to illuminate the lighter figure in the foreground. The pearl necklace offsets the painting a bit and, adds to the seductive nature of the piece. Just as many of Gouskova’s work this piece relays the ideas of mystery, beauty, and temptation.

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8th Artist Review Mark Demsteader

   There was no way I could avoid researching more about Mark Demsteader in my final ten artists. He is insanely talented when it comes to rendering the human figure. Born, in 1963 in Manchester, England Demsteader received his education from Rochdale, and Oldham College. His media of choice varies. He typically enjoys working in oils however, he does enjoy including gouache, pastel, and charcoal in his works. In order to create such realistic portraits Demsteader took many figure drawing classes, and practiced much on his own. He developed his own style which he is known for today. He usually completes one part of his figure, which is usually the head, adding immense detail, and paying careful attention to every attribute on their face. Then for the rest of his canvas it is all up to experimentation. In many cases, he will abstract the figure into merely a few lines leaving the work seemingly unfinished. In other cases he adds a wash of various colors, or a series of drips that cascade down the canvas.

  Demsteader wanted his figures to be a bit of a mystery. He creates them so that the viewer develops curiosity about them and, can fill in the gaps themselves as to who the figures are or, what they’re feeling.

  The newest inspiration for some of Demsteader’s portraits has been actress/model, Emma Watson. It’s been all over the internet, and the news that Demsteader created a group of paintings for Emma’s 21st birthday. Some of the proceeds of the sales of these paintings of Emma went to a charity called CAMFED international which helps with donations for children’s education in Africa. Demsteader said his main purpose for creating these works was to capture Emma in the moment of being 21. So that she can look back and remember who she was at the very moment in time.

  Oddly enough, some of my favorite works of Demsteader’s are probably the drawings he’s created. I’ve always been envious of those who could manipulate charcoal, and pastel to create figures. It’s obvious that he is very technically skilled, and can capture the figures  emotion and spill it out onto paper almost effortlessly.

  His paintings on the other hand are a bit darker. They do not have the open space that many of his drawings do instead, he fills up the canvas with paint.  They are full of texture, and movement. He uses a limited color palette in most of his paintings and, just like his drawings, pays careful attention to the face and bust of the figure, letting the rest transform into a mesh of color. His figures are very soft, delicate creatures, and are placed in a harsh, overbearing background. This contrast between the pastel colored girls, and black abyss of the background adds a sense of mystery to his works.

                My inspiration from Demsteader comes from his unfinished pieces. I’ve always loved the finished/unfinished look, and he is truly a master at it. He uses just the right amount of detail in his drawings to the point where it’s not overwhelming but, instead instantly stunning.

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7th Artist Post Russ Mills

   Russ Mill’s figures are both striking, and a bit chaotic. They’re feminine, while alluding a sense of masculine power. Most of his work seems like a combination of ruthless experimentation mixed with very meticulous photography, and charcoal work. His work is raw, it uncovers the human emotion that lies underneath the beautiful girls faces, and allows their mind to be spoken in an unforgiving light.

   Born in Exeter, Devon in the United Kingdom Mills began his artwork at a fairly young age. He received his Bachelors of the Arts in Graphic Design from Leeds Met University in 1995 and also attended Nothbrook College from 1990-1992. He was originally interested in working in film, and animation however, it wasn’t until more recently in his career that he realized his true potential lied in work with the computer, pencil, and paper. His favorite subjects to work with are female figures however, every now and then he plays around with an animal figure or two in his works. He’s had about five solo shows throughout his career and numerous group collaborations all exhibiting through various parts of England. His concepts revolve around people dealing with isolation versus those that deal with the untrustworthiness of people, and political statements. He enjoys working in the most realistic sense possible, avoiding filters at all costs to make his work as close to life like as possible.

  The process he uses to create his work consists of many steps. Mills first collects sources he feels would be pertinent to the portrait he is working on. Such as random stripes of pencil marks, textured paper, and even toned paper. He simply draws the photograph he is working from and scans that in as well. He then delves into his chaotic experimentation, adding or subtracting pieces as needed. What I respect most about Russell Mills technique is his refusal to include filters into any of his work. This makes the work more realistic, and shows of his true skills, instead of the computers high tech talents.

This piece on the left is probably my favorite piece out of his works. Looking through numerous galleries of his works, and endless amounts of portraits I always seem to come back to this one. The figure’s face is rendered beautifully. The detail in her eyes and lips sets the atmosphere for the rest of the painting. The figure seems relaxed, submissive, and a bit naïve, as though nothing in the world could harm her. However, surrounding her is a chaotic scene slashed with harsh lines, and quick spurts of paint. The limited color palette only brings more attention to the figure herself. What I absolutely love about this work is Mill’s use of high contrast. The piece blends together so cohesively and the high contrast only pulls out the points of interest in the work.

    His works all convey a sense of chaos, and motion. The portraits have a dark, almost eerie look to them. His figures are seemingly translucent. Their harsh outlines, and quick pulses of shading and, highlights only illuminate a hollow figure. It’s almost as though these figures are ghosts of various people. They lack a soul, themselves and are mere reflections of what has happened in the past. They reside in Mill’s alternate universe which is ultimately controlled by him.

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6th Artist Review Jenny Saville

      Born in Cambridge, England Saville is a young figurative painter who loves to work large. She attended school at the Glasgow School of Art in the late 1980’s to early 1990’s. It wasn’t until 1994 that her career really began to take off, after exhibiting in the Saatchi Gallery. People knew her work as including large scale, nude female figures, that were painted in an unusual composition as to highlight the imperfections of the body. Her brushwork is amazing. Including both emotion, and a sense of movement her brushstrokes truly illuminate these women, and make their skin come alive on the canvas.

Saville usually focuses her work around overweight female figures as to make the most of her canvas by filling it up with endless waves of skin. Her works are definitely a bit unsettling, and even gory at times, however, her amazing technical skill combined with her own painterly style counteracts this and, somehow makes it beautiful. The perspective she observes these women from is usually very dramatic. It’s almost as though the viewer is on the floor looking upward at these women’s massive bodies. This emphasis on the size of them only reflects how many of the subjects she paints view themselves. These women view themselves as these large, unattractive individuals, and not many people can understand how they feel without weighing that much themselves.

    She’s had many solo shows exhibiting her work all over the world. Some of these galleries include the Museum of contemporary Art in Rome, The Gagosian Gallery in New York, and the Eyestorm Gallery in London. Her first exhibition occurred in a group setting in Glasgow, Scotland at a Gallery called “The Burrell Collection”. Recently, she’s had many solo exhibitions throughout Italy since she currently resides, and works in Sicily.

     One of my favorite series of hers was called “Closed Contact”. This work emerged from a team consisting of Saville, and a fashion photographer named Glen Luchford. In this series Saville wanted to replicate the anger and, frustration that occurs with reconstructive surgery. In a series of self portraits Luchford photographed Saville as she expressed the pain and agony of body dissatisfaction. The photographs were taken with her body mounted against plexiglass enhancing the massive size of her body to emphasize any imperfections. These works all allude a sense of tension, as Saville tugs on her bare skin with her nails, and contorts her face in a very discomforting way. There is something quite peaceful about these works however, it’s almost as though she is seen as a supernatural being existing in this world that is separated from our by glass as she dances across it. This piece like the rest of Saville’s works delves into the concept of what really makes a woman a woman, and, what people in our world today perceive as beauty.

   Saville’s loud, fleshy figures will always be among my favorite figure paintings. Even though, they are a bit off putting I think that’s what make them so uniquely Saville’s. She’s not afraid to put out there what others are afraid to address. She’s courageous and, a truly talented artist that I can’t wait to see more work from.

 

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5th Artist Post Sayaka Ganz

Out of all my artists post she is probably the one 3D artist I found to be the most impressive.  Sayaka Ganz was born in Yokohoma, Japan, and her culture is easily identifiable in her works. She received her Bachelors of the Arts from Indiana University in Bloomington and, she currently teaches as IU Purdue University Fort Wayne in Indiana. She is definitely interested in many different forms of media in her artwork. Her pieces range from printmaking, to ceramics, sculpture, and welding. The works she is most known for are those that incorporate welding and, sculpture.

  Her artwork focuses on the concept of “One man’s trash, is another man’s treasure”.  Due to her faith in the Japanese Shinto way of life, Sayaka, holds the faith that every non-living item in this world can have emotions, and feelings. She sympathizes with items thrown in the trash seeing them as neglected souls, in which she rescues and, incorporates into her art. The trash that she reinstates into her artwork fits together like pieces of a puzzle in her eyes, working together in harmony to create a beautiful work of art. Most of her artworks are representational of some kind of animal whether it be birds, mammals, insects, or humans she never creates a non-living form out of her non-living media.

My favorite piece that I already investigated a bit is still her piece entitled “Emergence”. This piece focuses on two absolutely stunning horses that push themselves through the wall.  These horses are made up of simple, everyday, recyclable objects that she spray painted and welded together to form the two horses.  The illusion of movement is absolutely breathtaking in this piece. By welding together pieces that trail off the backs of the horses the concept of wind is created. Her horses are very proportional, and a bit abstract at the same time. This piece is what first drew me to Ganz’s work.

 

  My favorite pieces of hers are the reclaimed object sculptures. I find it amazing how she can turn simple plastic pieces found throughout garbage cans into such stunning works of art by simply spray painting, and welding them together to create an animal.  Her work “Plunge” depicts a family of penguins that seem as though they are diving through the water, pushing it aside with their fins. What I find most impressive about this work is that when viewing her penguins I immediately conjure up the background in my mind. Ganz doesn’t even have to place an elaborate background in her works because of the sense of motion, and composition she creates. The various tints of blue that cover reach of the penguins help resonate the surrounding space as water, and the trail of white that curls behind them is seen as a jetstream of bubbles they’ve created as they swim through the ocean. Another work that is similar to her “Plunge” creation is the work entitled “Stream”. In this piece she depicts a school of fish in the same manner she created her penguins.

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4th Artist Post Patrick Bremer

It wasn’t until I went back through my artist posts that I realized I absolutely had to include Patrick Bremer in my final ten. Even though, I’m not a collage artist he has inspired me to play around with mixed media in my own work.  He is wildly talented at mastering the incorporation of collage into his paintings, and I stare in awe at many of his works.

   Bremer received his degree from the Wimbledom College of Art and Design in London. In 2007 he was awarded the Delazlo Foundation Award given by the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. This award was given after he exhibited in the annual Mall Galleries back in 2007. He currently resides and, was raised in Brighton, UK.  His media of choice is both oils, and collage and, he enjoys working on a fairly large scale.

  Some artists of inspiration for him include figure painters such as, Lucien Freud, Jenny Saville, and Francis Bacon. The thing he found more inspirational from all of these artists was how they viewed, and created skin in their works. They all use a variety of methods to create very stylized skintones, and that was something that Bremer found fascinating. Other inspiration Bremer receives comes from his students. Patrick Bremer  is also a part time middle school teacher. He says that helping his kids with their own artwork, only gives him more and more ideas about his own work.  He believes that children are so experimental with their work at a younger age. They don’t believe there is a correct way to create art, and this keeps Bremer grounded in that fact as well.

   His favorite work of mine is his piece entitled “Castle”. In this nude portrait, he uses a monochromatic color scheme to tie together both the figure, and the background. His newspaper clippings create amazing shadows, and highlights over the figure’s body. The perspective of the figure is also very intriguing. It draws the viewers eye to the figures face then back following the rest of her body as it recedes in space. He included just the right amount of detail in this work so, that it doesn’t become overwhelming.

In the past I have included various collage materials in my own work such as, broken cds, newspaper, and magazine clippings. His work on the other hand solely consists of newspaper, and magazine clippings. Bremer believes that his work is very free flowing. He loves the experimentation of cutting clippings out and arranging them by chance. He treats his collages as one would a painting or a drawing. Finding the perfect colored clipping to shade a figures cheek with just, as a painter would mix the perfect color. In the future, Bremer desires to create larger works focused on a combination of both acrylic, and collage. This creates smoother transitions throughout his works.

  I think what inspired me most about Bremer is his ability to juggle both his own art career, and teaching at such a young age. Aside from my concept for senior seminar, he is doing exactly what I plan to be doing someday in the near future. He has also inspired me to try some new approaches for my senior seminar pieces. When I paint, I typically begin with large blocks of color, just a Bremer uses large blocks of clippings. I plan to emphasize the painterly quality of my pieces, and maybe even play around with incorporating some newspaper into the flesh tones of my figures. He’s really made me reevaluate how I am viewing my figure’s skin, since that’s something he focuses on prominently throughout his works.

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3rd Artist Post Elizabeth Winnel

   The reason I first became intrigued with Winnel’s work was how it related to my own concept of masks. Her work focuses around the concept of what her figures hide inside and transfers that hidden emotion to their exteriors.  She portrays their emotions with her use of color and, brushstrokes. Many of her works are self portraits to emphasize her own need to address the feelings that reside within in herself and, let them escape onto the canvas.

   Her works combine both a sense of delicacy with an unsettling nature about them. It’s as though, the viewer desires to comfort the distraught subject but, at the same time they are a bit hesitant due to the nature of the figures.

Winnel received her fine arts degree from Fanshawe College in London, and later received a degree in illustration from Savannah College of Art and Design. She currently lives and works in Tortono, Canada. Her media of choice varies from spraypaint, to pastel, to acrylic, oils, ink, charcoal, or a combination of all of them. Before creating her works she completes various color, and value studies to determine what she will do for her final piece. While searching through her blog I found tons of small works that consisted of various colors and, experiments to help inspire her. She obviously puts forth a lot of effort in planning what the final piece will consist of, even though her final piece in some cases does resemble unplanned experimentation.

On the left is one of my favorite pieces of hers. It’s entitled, “Star”. This mixed media piece was created with charcoal, ink, oil, and pastel on canvas. She seamlessly mixes these medias together to create a beautiful self portrait. She emphasizes the figures lips and, eyes to draw the viewer to the left side of the page. Her use of spraypaint and charcoal leaves  un touched lightened areas that almost act as ripples flowing across the canvas like water. She uses a very high value contrast to make her figure come to life. The colors in this piece make the figure seem broken, as though there is darkness the figure must overcome. 

  What first drew me to Winnel’s work was her use of color. I am a nut when it comes to color and, the combinations and highly saturated colors she picks all work wonderfully throughout her works.

 

  These color, and style combinations make each of her self portraits look as though they’re different people. Even though almost all her works exhibit herself I would’ve never known they were all self portraits until reading more about Winnel. Winnel is an extraordinary figure artist and, has inspired me to experiment more with various media in my work.

 

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2nd Artist Review Bruce Holwerda

     Bruce Holwerda  is truly a mixture of both a painter and, a cartoonist.  He received his B.F.A from the Utica College of Syracuse University and later a degree in illustration from the Kendall School of Art and Design. He is a surrealist when it comes to his paintings combining various elements into his works that one wouldn’t normally expect to see. To him art is something to be tampered with. He discovered his current style of artwork while attending a figure drawing class. As he studied a rather stern looking figure he created a whimsical scene instead. Just as many artists view art, to Holwerda it has no rules. Some of Holwerda’s main inspirations come from within himself. His fantastical worlds just seem to already reside in his head and, the main dilemma he faces is how to fit all that he wants on one page.

   His process of creating art is very similar to something that I am famous for doing. He works on many works at a time, and when it comes to a point where he just needs a break he stashes the unfinished piece away to be completed at a later date. In doing so he believes that he can fairly critique his own work at a later time. This is something  I believe all artists are known to do at one point or another in their career. Holwerda is a fan of all sorts of art, ranging from glass to bronzework, and even the simplicity of a realistic landscape can fascinate him.

  One thing that drew me to Holwerda’s work are the portraits that include masks. In his work “Hide and Seek” a figure is covered by multiple masks and, an ornate hat. Aside from the figure itself seeming uncertain the masks themselves seem to have personalities. One mask seems to look very dark, and almost defeated while another seems relaxed and, submissive. Aside from his physically masked figures many of his figures are created in such unique colors that they seem to be wearing masks themselves. The layering of color, and redness in the figures cheeks and nose makes them almost seem clownish, or as though they have on some sort of disguise.

One thing I really envy about Holwerda is his ability to keep a picture busy without making it too chaotic. I know I love keeping my works busy, and sometimes I have been known to go overboard. However, Holwerda is able to balance out his figures and creatures in a sort of harmony that makes them seem as though they were meant to coexist exactly as they are in that freeze frame of a painting.  He is also fearless when it comes to incorporating various brushstrokes and, colorations. His work truly reflects his experimentation however, it’s obvious that he has learned how to make his masterpieces both cohesive, and a bit disconnected at the same time. To me, many of his works have the dynamic of representing polar opposites. They’re comforting figures with an unsettling twist of creatures emerging from their head, face, or shoulders.

  From what I’ve read and viewed there is no method to Holwerda’s madness. He is seriously just a whimsical artist taking what he sees in his mind and putting it on paper. From what I’ve researched about him art is his happiness. He doesn’t create works out of stress or, trying to explain a tragedy instead, he finds joy in his works, and brings joy to his viewers as well.

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1st Artist Review Inka Essenhigh

Inka Essenhigh is what is known as a pop surrealist. Born in 1969 in Pennsylvania Essenhigh completed her degree at the Columbus College of Art and Design. Her works have been featured in hundreds of museums across the country, and became most popular around the mid 1990’s. Essenhigh mainly works with oils on canvas. Essenhigh lives by William Blake’s motto “Imagination is the real and eternal world of which this vegetable universe is a great shadow”.

   While looking at her works the viewer feels as though they have entered a three dimensional  alternate universe. Her creativity mimics that of a beautifully detailed dream, everything in the dream is a bit off putting but, at the same time alludes a sense of comfort and belonging.  Her mass amount of organic shapes and feathered brushstrokes add a sense of movement to most of her works. This movement makes her work seem to capture a specific moment in her work’s dream like universe, almost as though Essenhigh is a photographer in another world.

The more work I see from Essenhigh the more I can understand her immense popularity. The more I view her work the more Tim Burton pops into my mind. I was raised watching many of his movies and I always respected his dark sense of creativity, and humor. To me, Essenhigh produces the same kind of work in that it is truly imaginative and, allows the viewer to create a story in this imaginative universe of her work.

She can take a simple everyday scene and transform it into exactly what she wants. That is probably the thing I respect most about Essenhigh. She doesn’t simply paint from a photograph or observation instead, she molds her models into her own perception of them. She isn’t afraid to push boundaries in her work, and make viewers really think about the meaning of her pieces. She leaves much open to interpretation. To me, her work is a reflection of her own daydreams, and the way she would like to see the world.  She can evoke fear, comfort, curiosity, and passion in her works without needing a face to slap an emotion on. I think one of her most successful works would have to be “Subway”. Pictured on the following page, this piece shows a transformed reality of a subway stop. The monochromatic businessmen and women seem to just glide through the chaos that defines a metro station. Waiting for a train is not an activity most people would see as monumental, or beautiful in any sense. Subways are known for their lack of hygiene and, stressful atmosphere however, Essenhigh recreates this space into a masterpiece. To me, it almost seems as though these everyday figures are dancing. Drifting beautifully across the page, and receding into space as they continue on through their everyday activities. 

                Essenhigh is phenomenal when it comes to working with organic forms. She has definitely inspired the colors, and flow of my work. Her pieces are so cohesive and flow both as a unit and, individually. Even though, Essenhigh’s style may not be directly reflected in my senior seminar it most definitely has given me some wonderful ideas for future pieces.

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