“Lost Edges” is a series of large scale portrait paintings exploring the potential for the unpredictable nature of the watercolor medium to reveal the emotional state and unique spirit of the subject. Nuanced control of the watercolor medium is used to create realistic, accurate likenesses which coexist and interweave with chaotic fields of color and texture created through random, experimental use of the medium. These disparate vocabularies may exist in tension or in harmony, provoking an emotional response in the viewer, implying an open-ended narrative, and serving as a metaphor for the intellectual versus the emotional.
My current process for creating the work in this series begins with shooting photo reference of friends, family, and professional performers, because of photography's ability to capture fleeting expressions and emotions. Sections of my preliminary drawing on watercolor paper are masked out, and watercolor is splashed, dripped, sprayed, and brushed onto the exposed areas, alternating wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry applications. When the masking is removed, the traditional components of the portrait are completed utilizing a controlled application of the media, layering washes of warm and cool colors to create realistic skin tones. Ultimately, I work back and forth between the figurative and abstract components to resolve the composition and concept for the portrait.
Since earning a BFA in illustration in 2006, I have built an artistic practice combining illustration, commissioned portrait painting, gallery exhibition, and teaching. Over the past few years, my personal fine art painting has regularly returned to the portrait, with an interest in subjects with a powerful personal presence, and a style that balances expressiveness of the medium with accurate likeness. This work has recently begun to delve deeper into the experimental elements key to the “Lost Edges” series, and to increase in size.